Basildon Sporting Village is the largest sports project in the Thames Gateway regeneration area and has been identified as a potential training camp for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The Village opened on 30 April and includes a 50-metre competition swimming pool with a viewing area for 405 people; an eight-court sports hall with retractable seating for 480 people; a fully-equipped gymnastics centre; multi-purpose studios; a health and fitness suite, climbing wall and an external grandstand overlooking the existing athletics track providing seating for 720 people.
The facility is being delivered through a 25-year public private partnership agreement between Community Solutions for Leisure (CSL), a Morgan Sindall Investments Limited (MSIL) consortium, and Basildon Borough Council.
The new centre was designed by S&P Architects while Morgan Sindall Professional Services undertook the civil, structural engineering, mechanical and electrical design. The facility will be operated by Sports and Leisure Management (SLM) Ltd under their banner ‘Everyone Active’.
John Homer, regional managing director of Morgan Sindall , says: “We congratulate the partners on the successful completion of this landmark scheme. The Morgan Sindall Group has a collective wealth of experience when it comes to funding, designing and building leisure facilities and we were delighted to be able to bring them to bear on this project.”
Nigel Franks, general manager of Community Solutions for Leisure (CSL) says: “This has been a real partnership effort between the public and private sector. Together we have been able to deliver a state-of-the-art sports and leisure facility, which will offer value-for-money and a real source of pride for the residents of Basildon. We are confident the Sporting Village will increase sports participation, enhance community integration and encourage healthy living in Basildon.
“We are very proud to have been involved in such an important public project. We do have a lot of experience in delivering complex leisure schemes and although this was of course a challenge for our team, they handled it with skill, professionalism and dedication.”
Basildon Borough Council sees the Sporting Village as a community hub that will not only transform leisure and sport in the local area but county-wide as well.
Providing meeting rooms, exhibition areas, a crèche and a café, the centre will also support the existing athletics track, synthetic turf pitch, 12 outdoor netball courts and 10 grass pitches.
Work commenced in October 2009 and was completed on time and to budget in April 2011. Councillor Tony Ball, leader of the Council, says: “It’s a fantastic achievement from everyone involved to deliver it on time and on budget. Having toured around the site many times since October 2009, it will be wonderful to see the doors open to the public for the first time.
“This is absolutely for the benefit of our community and will transform the sporting chances of so many people throughout the Borough, whether they aspire to be an elite athlete or just want to exercise more. I am so thrilled that we have achieved this with our partners, and I cannot wait to see the positive impact this has on our community.”
Councillor Kevin Blake, cabinet member for leisure and arts says: “I would like to thank all of the funding partners for turning the project from a dream into the reality before us today, and to our private sector partners for the professionalism they have showed to complete this first class facility on time, and on budget.
“The recent news that the Japanese swimming team will be using the Sporting Village to train before the 2012 Games and allowing our residents to swim and train besides them, emphasises how this is truly a world class facility for everyone. To be able to have a swim from £1.70 in the same pool deemed good enough for Olympic athletes is testament to the standard of the Sporting Village and how it will help to put Basildon and Essex on the sporting map.”
Funding grants for the project have come from Essex County Council, the HCA, Sport England and Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust.