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Extra £4.4m needed for Riverside Leisure Centre

Report to be discussed by councillors next week

A report - just released - says an extra £4.4 million pounds is needed to fix the Riverside Leisure Centre. It says the roof needs completely replacing and the floor around the pool needs rebuilding. 

It's been closed since a fire nearly 2 years ago. Councillors have been unable to say when it would reopen, as more problems were uncovered with the roof structure. 

Now, a report suggests money from the sell-off of Clifton Hill Sports Centre should be used to fund other leisure facilities in the city including the repairs at Riverside. 

The full recommendations are that the council’s Executive approves:

  • Selling the Clifton Hill site for a mixed residential development to generate the best value capital receipt to offset the previously agreed costs of compensation, upgrades to leisure facilities and to provide investment for other council priorities, including the future development and improvement of other leisure sites.
  • Allocating a budget of £200,000 to cover the ground investigation works, marketing and selling of the site to deliver the optimal capital receipt to the council.
  • Allocating a further capital budget of £4.4m to allow for the full replacement of the flat roof and rebuild of the floor structure surrounding the pool at the Riverside.

It does say they don't want Clifton Hill turned into student flats and they will try to retain some of the land around it. It states: “In order to respond to local residents and ward councillors’ concerns, it is strongly recommended that a specific area of the site, in the vicinity of the current informal green space if possible, is retained by the council. The size of this land should be a minimum of 10 per cent of the total land area. The exact size and location of the site for retention by the council will be formally agreed prior to the sale. The selection of the site to be retained should be done sensitively to protect flora, fauna and wildlife habitats and to ensure it does not impede access to the site for development and minimises devaluation of the site.”

The report highlights good progress on improvements to other city council-owned leisure facilities:

• Wonford Sports Centre - the programme included internal decoration and refurbishment to the weights room and gym area, all new fitness equipment and a brand new virtual spin studio. It also included a complete refurbishment of the Astroturf all weather pitch and the surrounding fencing, essential enhancements to the fabric of the buildings and replacement of essential plant and mechanical systems.

• ISCA Centre - the refurbishment has created a new expanded gym facility along with improvements to the changing room and a new virtual spin studio has been created in the old gym area within Exeter Arena.

• Riverside Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre - the work included refurbishment and conversion of the café, soft play and reception areas to create a new membership sales office, a yoga/ quiet workout space, a virtual technology spin studio, a virtual technology workout studio and extension of the gym to include installation of a functional fitness rig.

• Pyramids - completed works include structural repairs to the roof, refurbishment to the family, male and female changing rooms, decoration to the vending area, reception and dry changing rooms. The final element nearing completion is the installation of a new air handling unit on the roof.

Councillors will discuss the report at a meeting of the Place Scrutiny Committee a week today (31st January) 

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