Better future decided for Atherton Leisure Centre

29 October 2012 in Council and democracy and Regeneration and Sport and leisure
A new state of the art leisure centre will be built on the site of the current Atherton Centre in Stratford following a decision by Newham’s Mayor and Cabinet on Thursday, (25 October) to appoint a preferred contractor.
Up to £14.7m has been identified in the council's budget to spend on the new development in Romford Road which will include a swimming pool and a gym.

The project will provide employment and training opportunities for residents and local businesses and the development will also include some residential properties.

The training pool, sports hall and studio have been closed since December 2011 to allow vital asbestos survey and removal works to be carried out in these areas.

A detailed report was presented to Cabinet in December 2011 which concluded that a comprehensive redevelopment of the site to include a new leisure centre was the preferred option. It highlighted that the current Atherton building was not easily accessible, that equipment and machinery were out of date and that the ageing building required a high level of ongoing maintenance. Refurbishing the building could partially address some of these issues but any improvements to the efficiency of the building would be severely constrained by the building’s layout and structure.

The report explained that a newly built leisure centre would provide high quality, modern leisure facilities that could not be provided by refurbishment and would provide a better layout including better access for disabled people.

In addition, due to reduced running costs, the cost of a new development would be significantly less over a 25 year period than either repair or major refurbishment.

Subsequently, a 12-week consultation with users, local residents clubs and schools was undertaken to ascertain their views on the future of the centre. They agreed that they would welcome improved facilities at Atherton Leisure Centre.

The next stage in the process will see the current Atherton Leisure Centre close from 24 December 2012 and current users of the centre will be able to use other sports facilities in Newham. Details of alternative facilities will be provided in the near future.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “The decision shows our commitment to build a new, attractive and accessible centre on the current Atherton site. It will be fit for the 21st Century and give residents the modern leisure centre they want and deserve.

“Expectations have been raised, rightly, among people in the local area about what they want from sport and leisure facilities and we have listened to what our residents want to see in a new, accessible, modern facility.

“We are committed to investing money in this project at a time when other local authorities are closing down or selling off their assets.

“Building a new leisure centre will not only create opportunities for residents and businesses it will also provide a legacy of sport for years to come.”