Green light given for new leisure centres

Author: Natalie Peck


Building plans for the proposed Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre and New Barnet Leisure Centre were approved by Planning Committee this week (Wednesday 25 January).

The £35 million investment by Barnet Council will see Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre redeveloped, creating a new facility, and a new leisure centre constructed in Victoria Recreation Ground to replace the existing Church Farm Leisure Centre. The Victoria Recreation Ground site will also be joined by a partnership library, relocated from the current East Barnet Library, from 2019.

The leisure centres plans are part of the council’s Sport and Physical Activity (SPA) project which aims to get residents more physically active. The council’s draft Fit and Active Barnet Framework outlines the vision to create a more healthy and a recent survey indicated that at least 50 percent of the borough’s adult population (aged 16 and over) do not currently take part in any sport or physical activity.

Barnet residents took part in a formal consultation and information sessions on the proposed leisure 2014 to 2016 which helped form the facilities mix.

Works for both sites will be carried out by Graham Construction, as part of an estimated £150 million contract to deliver infrastructure for Barnet’s growing borough. This comes as part of the council’s investment strategy, which will see £772 million of capital investment between 2016 and 2020 on vital infrastructure including three new schools, an additional Thameslink station, two community hubs, four business hubs, the council’s new offices, road and pavement investment, a new children’s home and the delivery of more than 600 homes over the next five years.

Councillor Sachin Rajput, Chairman of Adults and Safeguarding Committee, said: 

“Our £35 million investment in these brand new leisure centres is a sign of our ongoing commitment to encourage as many of our residents to take part in sport and physical activity. I am delighted approval has now been given and we can start work in building these new leisure centres which will serve our growing population for generations to come."

Notes to Editors:

In December 2016, Council agreed to provide an area of land for the construction of a regional diving facility and would contribute £500,000 to its construction, with the understanding that the balance of additional funding would come from other bodies.

It is noted within the planning report that while the current scheme does not include a diving facility, the proposals do not preclude a future amendment in order to incorporate diving should future finance become available.