Fringe Box



Borough Council to Consider Spectrum Leisure Centre Replacement

Published on: 19 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2016
The Spectrum Leisure Centre

The Spectrum Leisure Centre

Guildford Borough Council (GBC) is starting a feasibility process for a brand new sports and entertainment venue in the future. If found viable, this new facility would eventually replace Guildford Spectrum, possibly at a different site.

Although the current leisure centre has been a major success since it opened in 1993, a recent GBC report stated: “…it had become clear that the design of the centre had its shortcomings in respect to modern sports and leisure demands and expectations.

“Added to this was an ongoing issue of the repair of the roof, which had leaked since the venue had opened twenty-three years earlier. The direct costs for remedial repair of the roof would be in the region of £12 million and specialist contractors had been reluctant to tender as the centre was to remain open to the public for the duration with short-term loss of access to individual facilities.

As the current scaffolding indicates, Spectrum building has a high maintenance cost. The roof has leaked since it opened.

As the current scaffolding indicates, Spectrum building has a high maintenance cost. The roof has leaked since it opened.

“…The first stage of this process would be a feasibility study to consider if the existing leisure centre would be better replaced with a new venue that would be designed to accommodate the anticipated future demand. This new build would be at a likely cost of £80-£100 million subject to the range of facilities in the replacement venue.”

On October 31 the council’s Economy and Infrastructure Executive Advisory Board, having considered the report, agreed that to replace Spectrum would be a better use of public funds than to continue a plan of remedial works.

Lead councillor for rural economy, countryside, parks and leisure, Cllr Richard Billington (Con, Tillingbourne) said: “We are looking into the possibility of replacing Guildford Spectrum with a brand new sports and entertainment venue in the future. This is a great opportunity to provide up to date facilities harnessing the latest modern technology.

“It is important to emphasise, however, that it is very early days. With over 40 million visits since it opened, replacing such an iconic and successful destination as Guildford Spectrum would take some time.

“If the final decision is made to develop a new and exciting venue, it could take a number of years to plan, secure funding and build, and Guildford Spectrum would remain open until it was finished.”

The first stage is to start looking into the feasibility of a new venue. Included in the feasibility study will be widespread consultation to get people’s views on developing a new sports and entertainment venue.

Cllr Billington continued: “Guildford Spectrum is a regional tourist destination and we want to build on the success of this great leisure complex. We have looked at repair and refurbishment of the existing facility and this does not represent the best value for taxpayers’ money.

“As part of the feasibility process we will be asking local residents, sports organisations, community groups and businesses for their feedback, so look out for more information over the coming months.”

If Guildford Spectrum is to be replaced, the council says it would remain open and continue to offer a wide range of sport and leisure opportunities throughout the long process. GBC is currently investing in ongoing repairs to ensure the leisure and sports centre remains open to visitors.

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Responses to Borough Council to Consider Spectrum Leisure Centre Replacement

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    23 years? That’s the life of a morris minor not a municipal building.

    What has happened? Such buildings should have a life of 100 years. Perhaps, as with the Local Plan, we should be studying from our forefathers rather than listening to bankers.

    We should be planning for the next 50 or 100 years – for our great grandchildren yet to be born – not these stage sets of which last for no time at all and fail the community as soon as the next election occurs.

    I trust that “Spectrum mark 2” will be planned on solid ground with firm foundations and built with materials which will stand the test of time.

    • Mary Bedforth Reply

      November 21, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      I read elsewhere that a replacement could cost £80m!

      Just so long as it’s not another PFI like many schools, hospitals and public buildings built over the last 30 years and for which our grandchildren will be paying in years to come as the interest on the debts accrue.

      Four years ago, the Guardian produced this file. The list and the details are staggering. The list will be longer now.

  2. Andrew Backhurst Reply

    November 19, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    It could be very easy to knock this and say that £27 million for 23+ years is poor value but people come from London, Portsmouth and right across the South East to visit the venue, and when they come they spend their money.

    Spectrum has been a huge success and has helped put Guildford on the map, that is a good thing for the local economy.

    Build a new one and build it better and this time make sure there is a football ground for Guildford City. Bring it on!

  3. Martin Elliott Reply

    November 19, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    A typical GBC failure of supervision and due diligence that allowed a situation where the roof on an expensive building leaked from outset.

    Has the culture of the council, with regard to major civil works, changed over the years? It doesn’t seem likely from the history around the GLive build and operations.

    I hope this is honestly taken into account in the feasibility studies introduced by three different councillors over the past couple of days.

  4. Linda Cooper Reply

    November 20, 2016 at 10:25 am

    A waste of money. I thought we were broke.

  5. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Has the Spectrum been a success?

    I for one, as a local taxpayer, need to be convinced and would like to see some accurate figures from GBC on this project.

    1. How much has the Spectrum cost to date, all included, in terms of building, maintenance, staffing, planning, consultancy fees, along with projected demolition costs and anything else to return the site to parkland.

    2. What has been the overall income from the Spectrum to date?

    3. What, if any, actual profit has the council and therefore we, as local taxpayers, made out of the Spectrum after all fees, taxes and interest on any loans taken out to fund it and demolish it have been paid?

    Finally, when it is removed from it’s current site, will the allotment gardens that were located there be reinstated?

  6. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Perhaps some liaison with the university with a view to building the new leisure centre alongside and complementing the Surrey Sports Park, as a joint venture, might be an idea? Just a thought.

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