£13million Knaresborough Leisure Centre recommended for approval

Plans to demolish Knaresborough Swimming Pool and replace it with a £13million leisure centre have been recommended for approval by council officers.

By Jacob Webster
Monday, 7th February 2022, 4:55 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 4:56 pm
This is how the new £13million leisure centre could look if approved.
This is how the new £13million leisure centre could look if approved.

Harrogate Borough Council wants to build the new facility over a play area to the rear of the existing pool at Fysche Field.

It would mark Knaresborough's biggest building project in decades and has been hailed by the council as an opportunity to provide "modern and fit-for-purpose leisure facilities" for the town.

But the proposals have been met with opposition from residents and groups who have criticised the designs and questioned the need for a new facility.

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Knaresborough Civic Society described the proposed building as looking like an "industrial warehouse", while a 'Not On Fysche Field' campaign has claimed to have gathered the support of around 940 residents in a petition.

Sport England has also objected over the loss of outdoor playing space, although the council said it had amended its plans and was awaiting feedback.

There have been further criticisms over a council-run survey which asked residents where the new facility should be built out of five locations.

The survey referred to locating the new leisure centre “on the site of the existing swimming pool”, but it was only several months after this that the council revealed it wants to build over the play area.

Despite the opposition, the council claims its plans have been well supported by many residents and it has now made a recommendation of approval to councillors.

A report to a meeting of the council's planning committee next Tuesday said: "The enlarged facilities are required to meet the growing population need of Knaresborough and its surrounding area.

"This would help meet an existing undersupply of fitness stations in the locality and meet increased demand as the population increases.

"The public benefits of the scheme weigh heavily in favour of the proposal

and are considered to outweigh the harm arising from the development."

The plans include a new six-lane pool, learner pool, fitness suite, spin studio, sauna and steam room, and dry and wet changing facilities.

A total of 28 residents have lodged objections on the council's website, while two letters of support have been received.

The other locations previously considered by the council included Knaresborough House, Hay-a-Park, Conyngham Hall and a plot of land at Halfpenny Lane.

If approved, the project could be completed by the end of 2023.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter