Construction work is due to start this year on a £582,000 leisure centre with a swimming pool, sports hall and outdoor pitches at Plymouth’s new town. Plans are progressing for the facility at the £1bn Sherford development which will include an indoor 25-metre, four-lane heated swimming pool, sports hall, soft-play area, gym, fitness studio, café, changing facilities for outdoor pitches and courts, and a 100-plus space car park. It is planned to be ready in 2024.
The leisure centre marks a major investment in the creation of community facilities at Sherford, and will be led by the Sherford Consortium, the developers responsible for new town – a partnership between Taylor Wimpey and Vistry Partnerships, which includes Linden Homes and Bovis Homes.
The creation of the leisure centre has always been a crucial element of Sherford’s design, since planning began more than two decades ago. Sitting within the boundary of Plymouth City Council, the local authority has secured £400,000 in developer contributions towards the project, as part of its ongoing commitment to delivering healthy communities.
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Additional funding will also be provided by Plymstock and District Swimming Pool Association, contributing £182,000 to fund enhancements to the pool area that will ensure it is accessible to all. Set to bring the latest leisure and fitness facilities, equipment and skills to Sherford is LED Community Leisure, which has been selected as the operator following a competitive tender process.
With a track record in managing centres across Devon and Somerset, LED Community Leisure reinvests all profits into creating, maintaining and enhancing leisure hubs for the benefit of the community. Managing 12 leisure and entertainment centres across the region, LED’s inclusive and innovative approach is designed to ensure Sherford’s leisure centre meets the needs of residents and the wider community.
The addition of a leisure centre at Sherford is a further boost to what is fast becoming a leading destination for sport and recreation. The town already boasts a skatepark, play park, multi-use game area, and tennis courts. A cricket pavilion, all-weather pitch and multiple grass pitches are coming soon.
Public open green space is central to the design of Sherford and the first phase of the Country Park is already open, and will expand to 500-acres in time, with walking and cycle routes throughout the town. The community will be invited to view plans for the leisure centre as part of a public consultation on Friday, May 20, at Sherford’s Community Hub.
There will be the opportunity for Sherford residents and those living in the wider area to view the designs, speak to a team of experts, and share their thoughts. It is expected that plans for the leisure centre will be submitted this summer and, planning decision permitting, work could start on site by the end of the year. Construction would take about 18 months, seeing the finished facility open to the public in 2024.
Peter Sadler, managing director of Vistry Partnerships South West, part of the Sherford Consortium, said: “As one of the most anticipated community facilities at Sherford, we are delighted to move forward with plans for the leisure centre, as well as welcoming LED Community Leisure as its chosen operator.
“This is an exciting stage for Sherford and we look forward to sharing the designs with the very community it is set to serve. This facility will make a massive difference to Sherford and the wider area; we are confident it will be a vibrant new community space, a place to be proud of, and somewhere to be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Peter Gilpin, chief executive of LED Community Leisure, said: “We can’t wait to join the Sherford community, and look forward to meeting its residents and those living in the local area, to discuss and finalise plans for the brand-new leisure facility. As a not-for-profit organisation, we reinvest our profits into ensuring our facilities become valued community hubs, while providing everything needed for everyone to achieve their health and fitness ambitions.”
Cllr Mark Deacon, Plymouth City Council’s former cabinet member for customer services, culture, leisure and sport, said: “We have long anticipated a swimming pool and leisure facility for this part of the city and this will be a welcome addition not just for the Sherford new town but for the wider community. A new leisure centre will not only help more people to stay active and fit but also improve our residents’ overall health and wellbeing.”
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