Sports centre will get almost £1m

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 December 2010

Archant

NEARLY £1million will be pumped into Churchill Sports Centre to modernise the facility.

At a meeting of North Somerset Council’s executive on Tuesday members approved a proposal to put £800,000 into the village leisure centre before handing it over to be run by Tone Leisure, a registered charity, which will invest a further £100,000.

Plans for the facility, which is on the same site as Churchill Community School and sixth form, include replacing the current red-gra pitch with a £300,000 all-weather pitch and the conversion of a multi-use room into a gym.

The current gym and reception desk will be remodelled to provide an improved reception area, a wheelchair lift to the first floor will be installed as well as a dry changing area and a studio.

North Somerset councillors approved the revamp but the authority’s leader, Nigel Ashton, stressed that people need to make sure they keep using the centre.

Cllr Ashton said: “If the community becomes involved in this it will become used more and more and we will get rid of the subsidy we are putting in at this point in time. The ball is going to be in your court guys.”

The centre, which is currently owned and run by the unitary authority, also has a 20m pool, a squash court, a café area and a large multi-use room.

The new contract, which is worth more than £1million and is for an initial period of 77 months, is expected to begin from April 1 next year.

Headteacher at Churchill Community School, Dr Barry Wratten, said: “We have been in discussions with North Somerset Council for some time but it has only been in the last few weeks, given the current financial climate, that positive signs have emerged.

“We are really excited by the prospect of new facilities here at Churchill and are working with the council to agree the details of new undertakings and obligations. This will be a huge fillip for the local sporting community and a boost for our students and staff.”

It was back in April 2010 that the council sought tenders for the venture and after six expressions of interest were received bidders were asked to provide two tender prices.

The first price was based on the operation of the centre as it currently is and the second on the basis of North Somerset Council investing in the red-gra and gym.

Despite the ‘with investment’ option being £123,000 more expensive over the term of the contract, the council said it provides residents and users with ‘vastly improved facilities’ and a centre that is more sustainable in the medium term

A spokesman from Churchill Parish Council said: “We are over the moon about the news that the sports centre will continue. It is the only sports activity in the parish so it is very important to all ages.”

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