Residents back new family leisure centre for Morden

Results of a consultation published today (7 August 2014) by Merton Council show support from residents and pool users for a new family leisure centre to replace the ageing pool in Morden Park.

SWIMMING-COVER_020Starting with a model recommended by Sport England, people taking part in the consultation were able to select extra facilities they wanted as long as they came within the £10m budget. Top of the list for sporting facilities requested by those taking part in the consultation were a movable pool floor for diving and more swimming pool area. There was also support for a sports hall and climbing wall.

The consultation had a significant response with well over 400 questionnaires submitted.  A clear majority liked the Sport England model and useful feedback was given on additional facilities.  The most wanted facility overall was a café (49% of respondents opted for a cafe).  But the most popular sporting facilities were enhancements to the swimming pool to allow diving (44% of respondents) and a larger pool to accommodate leisure swimmers (38% of respondents). A relatively high number of swimmers and divers participated in the consultation.

The council is proposing to replace Morden Park Pools with a brand new, modern, family focused leisure centre that provides value for money. To help guide the process of providing quality sporting facilities for the borough, the consultation used a model developed by Sport England, which includes a sports hall, a six-lane main swimming pool and a health and fitness centre, with a gym and studios.

This consultation was carried out on the council’s behalf by community consultation specialists PPS Group in March and April. Through an online questionnaire and a series of public exhibitions, PPS asked local people whether they liked the Sport England model and what additional facilities they wished to see.

PPS has contacted those consultation respondents who left their contact details, to let them know the results. The council will consider all the findings as it decides on future facilities it will be able to provide in the new family leisure centre.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “This is an important step towards delivering a new sports facility that local people want.  The feedback is invaluable in helping us design the new family leisure centre.  This is a big project, so it’s reassuring that residents recognise the need for the council to keep to a tight budget, and that they have told us they want somewhere the whole family can go to have fun and get fit at the same time.  That’s exactly what we will now aim to deliver.”

The full Consultation Report can be read at www.leisureformorden.com

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