Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive has rubber-stamped the project which benefits from nearly £20 million of Government ‘Levelling Up’ funding announced at the end of October 2021. The decision allows the project to progress to community engagement and consultation and the formal planning process.
Residents can look forward to an eight-lane 25 metre community swimming pool, which is more than double the size of the pool at the existing Houghton Regis Leisure Centre. There will be a dedicated learner pool with a movable floor to raise or lower the depth for swimming lessons and a separate splash pool, all part of an enhanced swimming experience.
A large, state-of-the-art, fitness suite and exercise studios will provide dedicated spaces for a range of different classes. Two squash courts will also feature in a great package of leisure facilities.
Plans include a cafe, community space, a creche, a children’s outdoor play zone, an outdoor fitness trail and enjoyable public areas.
Enhanced landscaping and planting will surround the centre, with improved walking and cycling routes across the Kingsland Campus linking up with the new Houstone School.
Car parking, cycle parking and bus drop-off areas are all included in the plans designed to support the needs of a growing Houghton Regis community.
Cllr Tracey Stock, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing and Communities, said:
“This is tremendous news for Houghton Regis and will offer superb new leisure facilities for residents.
“We have invested significantly in community leisure facilities in recent years an example being the impressive Dunstable Centre. We are now set to invest £54 million in additional leisure provision. We have this Houghton Regis scheme, the major extension to the Jenkins Pavilion in Sandy and the proposed leisure centre in Leighton Linslade to look forward to.
“Our Leisure Facilities Strategy sets out our ambition to provide quality new sports and leisure facilities and these three major projects show we are putting that into action. We are providing what residents want and encouraging people to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.”
Cllr Kevin Collins, Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, said:
“This new centre will offer residents superb new swimming, fitness and sporting activities in one quality building and setting.
“Residents will have a welcoming place to meet up, socialise and get support. It will have a positive impact on their health and wellbeing and will bring communities together. It’s going to be an important asset local people will enjoy.
“Houghton Regis is growing and we are making sure this is done in a beneficial and attractive way that benefits the whole community. We are investing in its future.”
Commenting on the plans, Sport England said:
“Sport England is very supportive of the project. The new leisure centre in Houghton Regis on the Kingsland Campus will provide a high quality facility to serve the new school and the local community.”
The new development at Kingsland Campus will offer upgraded, superior leisure provision as recommended in the council’s adopted Leisure Facilities Strategy.
A planning application will be submitted shortly to help secure the funding achieved through the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ Fund.
Public engagement and consultation on the proposals will run in early 2022 with feedback helping to inform the planning process. There will be a further opportunity for residents to submit their comments during the statutory planning consultation stage too.
Subject to approval, construction will start later in 2022. The existing Houghton Regis Leisure Centre will remain open until the new centre is complete, so leisure provision is always available for the local community.
These are exciting times for Houghton Regis with numerous developments underway. This additional project shows the council's commitment to schemes and developments needed in Central Bedfordshire.
It’s one of several major investments planned to enhance leisure facilities across Central Bedfordshire. There are plans for a new leisure centre in Leighton Linslade and significant improvements lined up at the Jenkins Pavilion in Sandy.