Kirkby residents have had their say on the new leisure destination coming to the town.
Throughout September, Ashfield District Council consulted with residents to see what they want from Kirkby’s new facility. Over 300 people responded to the survey, which was made available online and in person at several events across Kirkby. The Council also spoke to young people at the Acre Centre for Young People to ensure that young people were listened to and catered for.
Here are ten clear messages we heard from the consultation and how plans are already being put in place to respond to the wishes of residents.
- 75% of respondents said they were looking forward to a swimming pool coming to Kirkby, seeing it as an important activity in the plans. The latest plans for the destination incorporate water space for fun, fitness and swimming.
- Health and Wellbeing came out as an essential aspect of a new facility with 93% of people saying it is important to them. The Council’s recently published Corporate Plan outlines an increase in physical activity participation levels and a reduction in both child and adult obesity as key outcomes it wants to achieve for Ashfield.
- 63% of those who responded were people who currently never or hardly ever use the existing Festival Hall site.
Councillor Tom Hollis, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “We are certain that the new leisure centre will increase participation in sporting activities and also provide a hub for the Kirkby community. When Lammas Leisure Centre first opened we saw participation increase by over 50% so it’s fantastic to see potential new service users having their say on the new facility.”
- 44% of people who took part in the survey said that the cost of activities is a barrier to their participation. Ashfield District Council is working with partners to develop the business model for the new leisure destination and is also looking at options to remodel concession rates to increase participation.
- 72% said that a gym and fitness suite was an important part of the new leisure destination. As a result of this, the latest plans will see an increased gym space for the expected increase in members as well as an area for free weights.
- 69% also said that activities for all abilities was an important part of the new facility. Ashfield District Council are developing plans for a facility mix that will be accessible to all, including increased availability of activities, state-of-the-art changing facilities and a health and wellbeing suite.
- 46% of respondents said that they also see arts and culture as an important aspect in the project. With this in mind, the latest plans will incorporate an events space with a large cinema screen and bleacher seating for over 200 people, the perfect environment for film screenings.
- 90% of people said that easy parking is a must for the new leisure destination. The Council is planning to increase the number of spaces available on the site as well as ensuring parking is free for service users.
- Throughout the consultation, the Council has been working with current service users to ensure the new destination works for them. A key group is the 50 Plus Club who are keen to see bowls provision maintained for their group.
Barry Brown from 50 Plus Club’s Bowls section said: “We are pleased we have been able to make our voice heard and that the Council is listening to us. Participation in activities for people of all ages is important so I believe the officers appreciate our expertise when it comes to the facilities we need.”
- Numerous respondents said they wanted to see a less programmed access to swimming facilities, with more availability to drop-in than other leisure centres. The Council is committed to ensuring the offer is different to the other sites across Ashfield, including adventure play, a climbing wall and more opportunities for residents to access the pool.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Jason Zadrozny, said: “I’m overwhelmed with the number of residents who have taken the time to help shape the new leisure centre.
“Having spoken to residents, it is clear that there is passion for having high quality and accessible facilities for all. I’m proud that we are already acting on the feedback we’ve had from the consultation and shaping our plans accordingly.”