Play Hub and Cycle Studio Opens in Carmarthenshire

In a bid to get more children and adults more active, Carmarthenshire County Council has invested almost half a million pounds to reinvigorate its leisure provision and create new inspiring spaces for all age groups.

Obesity is a huge problem in Wales . According to the National Survey of Wales (2016-2017), 59 per cent of adults are overweight and 23 per cent are obese. The Child Measurement Programme also reports 26 per cent of reception aged children are obese compared to 22 per cent in England.

Councillor Peter Hughes-Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Leisure, says: “We need to get the population of Wales moving. To do this we must provide inspiring, accessible and diverse activity spaces. Earlier this year, we engaged Alliance Leisure to evaluate the current offer at Carmarthen Leisure Centre and to provide advice and guidance on what could be done to encourage more of the local population to visit. Alliance Leisure has extensive experience of injecting new life into tired leisure facilities and we were excited to explore what could be achieved in Carmarthen. When we saw the plans and  worked through the financials, we knew this was a project that we had to get underway.”

In August 2018 works began on transforming the under-utilised gymnastics hall into an inspiring, 3-tier, 210 square metre children’s play area and café.

The new environment has been supplied by industry experts, Play Revolution, and is designed to encourage children aged 0 to 12 years to climb, hide and slide their way around a matrix of visually stimulating features including tunnels, stepping stones, rope bridges and slides. The area also incorporates a dedicated area for 0-3 year olds. The play space is supported by a new café and lounge area where parents can gather to supervise their children whilst enjoying a range of high quality snacks and beverages.

Carl Daniels, Senior Actif Sport and Leisure Manager, says: “Before the development the gymnastics hall welcomed around £4,000 profit per year.  In our first month of opening, the new play area is proving to be on target to generate circa £80k income in play centre.

It’s not just the youngsters who have been treated to new facilities. The development has also created a new spin studio. Located in Carmarthen Leisure Centres it’s kitted out with 30 top of the range IC7 Life Fitness spin bikes, this 85 square metre facility has been  equipped with state of the art audio and lighting systems to create a stimulating ride like nothing else on offer in the local area.

Carl Daniels, Senior Actif Sport and Leisure Manager adds: “The new cycle studio is awesome and out shines any other facility in the area. The community has fully embraced the experience. We have had to significantly expand the provision to meet demand, but with such high quality non-instructed/virtual classes through the Myride® system we can increase class numbers without a significant increase in costs.”

The development works completed this month and were managed through the UK Leisure Framework, owned and operated by Denbighshire District County Council with Alliance Leisure as lead contractor.

Julia Goddard, Senior Business Development Manager and project lead at Alliance Leisure concludes: “This project has given the leisure centre a new lease of life and made leisure services available to new audiences who were otherwise disengaged. The play area in particular adds a whole new dimension to the offering. In addition to providing a safe, secure space for children to play and explore, it also offers an attractive space for people to meet and socialise.”

ALLIANCE APPOINTED AS DEVELOPMENT PARTNER ON THE CHARD REGENERATION PROJECT

South Somerset District Council has appointed leisure development specialists, Alliance Leisure, to work with multi award-winning architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR, to build a brand-new leisure and community facility in Chard’s Town Centre.  The new leisure and community facilities will be at the heart of the Chard Regeneration project.

Julia Goddard, Senior Business development Manager at Alliance Leisure, said: “Over the next few months we will work closely with architects AHR to produce outline plans for the overall development. We will also create full design plans for the new leisure centre, aiming for submission by July 2019. Once planning permissions are granted, works will start on the demolition of the factories and warehouses.”

Karle Burford, director at AHR, said “We are thrilled to be working with the Council on the proposals to bring forward a mixed-use community scheme, redeveloping the historic Boden Mill site that includes the former ACI factory site.

Our shared vision to instil the historic nature of the town within the design is integral to the project, and we look forward to harmonising the old with the new. The first phase of the scheme will be designing the brand-new leisure centre, with modern facilities for families to enjoy for years to come.”

The new leisure centre will offer a diverse array of facilities to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the community. These are likely to include: a 25 metre swimming pool; a gym; group exercise studios; an adventure play area; changing rooms and a café.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme and Deputy Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “Feedback from a series of public consultations has revealed that people want the development to include: a leisure centre with swimming pool; more places to eat and socialise; improved leisure opportunities for young people; green open spaces and opportunities for small, independent retailers to thrive.  We are working with Alliance Leisure to help plan and build this vision.

Alex Parmley the Chief Executive Officer at South Somerset District Council said “Alliance Leisure has years of experience delivering modern leisure developments in tune with community needs. Our new partnership, through the Leisure Framework, will ensure we deliver a mix of facilities and services which offer the local population most value both now and in the future.”

The Boden Mill itself will be redeveloped into a culture and public sector hub with a library, satellite museum, with the police, council and other local service providers who are also likely to be housed in the new facility. Conversion of the upper floors will create a number of residential units for rent or purchase.

All surrounding areas will be landscaped to create an attractive public realm that can be used for social gatherings, public art and community events. The nearby Holyrood Lace Mill will also transformed into a residential development offering a much needed housing solution.

The works will be carried out in phases starting with the new leisure centre and will complete at the end of 2020, subject to planning approval in summer 2019.