Portsmouth Bransbury Park Leisure Centre plans scaled back and delayed with sports hall axed from the project
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Inflationary pressures in the construction industry have meant that Portsmouth City Council have had to cut costs with the proposed scheme. During a recent cabinet decision meeting, David Mormon, the council’s strategic development manager for sports and leisure, said rising costs are being addressed through “value engineering” and “adjusting the project’s scope”.
He added the project scope will “broadly stay the same” with the inclusion of two swimming pools, dry leisure facilities and a nearby GP surgery. However, the proposed two-court sports hall has been considered “suboptimal” by stakeholders, leading to the idea of using an existing four-court sports hall in a city centre school for public use. All of this has resulted in design changes which have pushed back the planning application from October this year to February 2024.
Councillor Steve Pitt, the leader of the council, the project was originally drawn up as a replacement for the old Eastney swimming pool and Wimbledon Park Sports Centre (WPSC) which “hasn’t got a long-term future”.
He added that if an agreement can be struck between the council and school “we would have replaced like-for-like, pretty much, the offer that’s at WPSC”.
“We are not in a position as a council to be delivering unfortunately facilities we can’t make a usage case for – it pushed the envelope, costs are rising and we need to make sure that we are staying within our budget,” he said.
“When talking about value engineering we don’t mean doing it on the cheap, we mean leaving stuff out that’s not actually making the building usable.
“Architects have an amazing propensity to include all sorts of stuff that they like – we are not in that world this is about delivering a neighbourhood community LC so that kids can learn to swim and older people can stay fit and healthy.”