Leisure World rebuild fund no longer available - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

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HOPES of a replacement for Bridlington’s ageing Leisure World complex have taken a knock.

It might be past its best, but locals and visitors will have to make the best of it for some time yet as funding for a proposed £15 million rebuild on the same site is not longer available.

East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors will be get an update on the situation when they are shown round the building.

Today, the council’s Greater Prosperity Overview and Scrutiny committee which is meeting at The Spa will receive a report which says much of Leisure World’s fabric and services infrastructure is “past the end of its economic life” and there have been several short-notice closures because of equipment breaking down.

Also, the 3Bs Theatre, originally built in the 1930s as the Grand Pavilion, is “no longer sustainable” given the Spa’s revamp and take over of that role.

Money has been found to maintain the building but the chances of getting the millions needed to rebuild and transform it are now remote following the economic downturn and winding up of Yorkshire Forward, which had been expected to have provided match-funding for the project.

Today’s report, by Alan Menzies, the council’s Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration, describes Leisure World as a difficult and expensive building to manage and maintain.

He said major maintenance will be needed in the next two years, much of it to keep the pool operating plant in a serviceable condition and to keep the building operational.

Leisure World currently houses a 25metre, five-lane pool, learner pool, leisure pool with wave machine and slides, a health and fitness suite and the 3Bs entertainment theatre and multi-purpose hall now designed around indoor bowls.

The theatre no longer operates as a theatre and said the report, its external appearance has become out-dated and unattractive.

In July last year a project for its replacement was withdrawn from East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s capital programme due to funding pressures and the winding up of Yorkshire Forward who it was envisaged would provide matched funding for the £15 million cost.

A user survey taken last summer when 45% of users were said to be visitors, had favoured a replacement on the same site. The most used facility being the swimming pool and fitness area.

A replacement for Leisure World, to maintain leisure facilities in the town, is still possible, and depends on the type and scale of work and available funding to carry it out.

However, it won’t be right away.

The level of funding needed will be included in a report to the council in June this year on all schemes or service areas which had capital funding reduced or curtailed, including Leisure World.

It’s future has been in doubt since The Spa re-opened and duplicated its theatre, meeting and entertainment role. Two years ago council chiefs were warning it probably had a future lifespan of around five years before it became too expensive to keep going.

When it was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1987, it was hailed as an all-weather, indoor tropical paradise which put Bridlington among the top resorts in the country.