Have your say: Where should Knaresborough's new leisure centre be built?

Knaresborough residents are being invited to give their views on the location of a new multi-million pound leisure centre in the town.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 11:23 am
Updated Friday, 4th December 2020, 11:26 am
Knaresborough ward councillor Phil Ireland pictured outside the existing swimming pool site at Fysche Field.

Harrogate Borough Council has today launched a six-week consultation on whether to choose Knaresborough House, Hay-a-Park, Conyngham Hall or the town's existing swimming pool site.

The council said the existing swimming pool site at Fysche Field is its preferred option.

This is after the council appointed an independent property consultant to score the four locations on access, deliverability and other measures, with the existing swimming pool site scoring the highest, followed by Hay-a-Park, Conyngham Hall and Knaresborough House.

Documents said if the preferred option is chosen, the new leisure centre build could result in the loss of the green space at Fysche Field.

And it was also revealed that a further site at Halfpenny Lane was considered, however this was discounted "due to ownership of the location," documents said.

Senior councillors met on Wednesday to approve the consultation which will run until 18 January.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, said: "These are very exciting times and providing a brand new pool and gym facility in Knaresborough as part of our investment strategy provides an investment of circa £11m into the town.

"It is a great shame that some try to make negative assumptions and accusations regarding the process we adopted in the feasibility study.

"It was quite right that we looked at every possible site Harrogate Borough Council has an interest in with no predetermination and nothing ruled out. I now look forward to hearing from the people of Knaresborough through consultation and listening to their views."

Residents had raised concerns over the Conyngham Hall opiton - a historic estate and business centre in Knaresborough - with a petition by the local Liberal Democrats attracting more than 1,600 signatures.

However, there was criticism from the council's Conservative leader Richard Cooper that the petition had not been handed in.

Last month, the council appointed construction company Alliance Leisure Services as development manager for the project, as well as plans for a major refurbishment of Harrogate Hydro.

A council report shows the company - which has offices in Greater Manchester and Somerset - was appointed without a competitive tender process.

If approved, the new Knaresborough leisure centre will be completed by the end of 2023 and include a new 25-metre pool, a 66-station gym and two studio spaces.

Ward councillor Phil Ireland said: "In my year as mayor of Knaresborough I made a promise to fight for the replacement of Knaresborough’s ageing pool.

"I am delighted that this promise has moved closer to fruition with the announcement that Alliance Leisure Services will act as development manager for the delivery of significant investment in this facility."

To have your say go to www.harrogate.gov.uk/haveyoursay

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter