Melton Sports and Leisure Village takes major step forward after borough council completes freehold purchase of Burton Road site

Looking to the future are, from left, Melton Council leader Byron Rhodes, Melton Mowbray FC chairman Sam Ellis, Melton Council deputy leader Pam Posnett, Melton Rugby Club president Rob Goldthorpe and Melton Hockey Club player and secretary Alastair McQuillan
Looking to the future are, from left, Melton Council leader Byron Rhodes, Melton Mowbray FC chairman Sam Ellis, Melton Council deputy leader Pam Posnett, Melton Rugby Club president Rob Goldthorpe and Melton Hockey Club player and secretary Alastair McQuillan
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Exciting plans to develop a ‘Melton Sports and Leisure Village’ took another major step forward this week after the

borough council completed the freehold purchase of the King Edward VII site on Burton Road from Leicestershire County Council.

Improvements to indoor facilities and increased activities are planned for the King Edward VII Sports Centre now under the management of Everyone Active. Pictured from left are area project manager Simon Fearn, Everyone Active's contract manager Matt Hopkin, Melton Council's head of communities and neighbourhoods Harry Rai, Melton Council leader Byron Rhodes and Steve Taylor, of Melton Active EMN-150629-182428001

Improvements to indoor facilities and increased activities are planned for the King Edward VII Sports Centre now under the management of Everyone Active. Pictured from left are area project manager Simon Fearn, Everyone Active's contract manager Matt Hopkin, Melton Council's head of communities and neighbourhoods Harry Rai, Melton Council leader Byron Rhodes and Steve Taylor, of Melton Active EMN-150629-182428001

Melton Council leader Byron Rhodes said: “This is a significant step forward. We are already developing plans to deliver much needed sports and leisure facilities to the borough. The ambitious plans include bringing in activities that appeal to a wide range of users and some activities currently not available in the area. This really will be a hub of major sports and leisure activities.

Mr Rhodes added: “This purchase allows us to realise those plans. We will continue to deliver services from the current facility, working with our leisure partner SLM, and immediate proposals include bringing Melton Town Football Club onto the

site.”

Among the key aims of the ambitious project is to provide a ‘home’ for the football club, Melton Rugby Club and fellow established tenants Melton Hockey Club.

Phase one of the ‘Melton Leisure Vision’ project is for the council to approve a £90,000 package of improvements enabling the football club to be located at the King Edward VII site from October 1.

Subject to planning permission, these improvements will include the provision of covered seating for 50 spectators, floodlighting, three temporary changing rooms, two dugouts, turnstile and perimeter fencing.

The planned improvements would enable the football club to achieve promotion in the future. The club had previously been denied promotion to the East Midlands Counties League (EMCL) after failing an EMCL ground inspection at Hoby Road, Asfordby, as a result of not having the required level of facilities.

The £90,000 cost of the improvements is set to come out of the £1m which Melton Council has set aside for the overall Melton Sports and Leisure Vision project.

The long-term vision for the project is to turn the site into a state-of-the-art multi sports venue which would include:

l A new main stadium pitch (3G artificial grass) for rugby and football with spectator seating (about 500-100 spectator seating and stand) and floodlights

l A new eight-court indoor sports hall that can be used for various activities

l Outdoor grass pitches for rugby and football (junior and adult size)

l Health and fitness facilities (to meet sporting needs but not to compete with Waterfield Leisure Centre)

It’s also hoped the sports village could be used for regional sports tournaments, conferences and other sporting events such as boxing. Another future phase of the project could be to consider a desirable pool facility, potentially to meet the demands of competitive swimming.

The current King Edward VII Sports Centre includes a state-of-the-art fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, four floodlit tennis courts, a full-sized all-weather pitch, rugby and football pitches and a licensed bar.

Sports and leisure operator, Everyone Active, has now been appointed by Melton Council to manage the centre. The appointment is an extension of Everyone Active’s existing 10-year contract with the council, which sees them manage Waterfield Leisure Centre.

It will now work with the council over the next two years to develop facilities at the King Edward VII Sports Centre.

Matthew Hopkin, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We’ve built a very good relationship with Melton Council through our management of Waterfield Leisure Centre and it’s an honour to have our contract extended to include King Edward VII Sports Centre.

“We’ve received a great amount of support from the Melton community so far and our focus is now on ensuring we provide the highest standard of service at King Edward VII Sports Centre.”

Melton Council’s head of communities and neighbourhoods Harry Rai said: “We are very excited with the plans we are developing and continue to work closely with Melton Mowbray Rugby Club and Melton Hockey Club as well as welcoming Melton Town Football Club to the site.”

Mr Rai added the council was ‘already having positive discussions with national governing bodies’ regarding funding for the project’s future phases.

A working group - made up of elected members, council officers and sports club representatives - will also be involved in shaping the new facilities, following community involvement, and a facilities fundraising partnership group is also proposed to be created to help raise funds.

Melton Mowbray FC chairman Sam Ellis said he was ‘optimistic’ about the club’s move to the site. He added: “We’re excited about coming up here. Unfortunately the team has been way ahead of the facilities. They have to be in place in order for us to be promoted.”

Melton Rugby Club president Rob Goldthorpe said: “The sports village is going to be a huge development for us and we’re hoping it will bring in a huge number of new players as well as improving facilities.

“We’re going to be better off and we’re also delighted to have new landlords who are very proactive and helpful in everything we’re doing.”

Melton Hockey Club player and secretary Alastair McQuillan said: “It’s an opportunity for us to start afresh and move forward with some new ideas. It will also give us more security at the site, allowing us to start planning long-term.

“There’s big potential and hopefully having more people on the site and using it will mean we can think bigger and have more clout when it comes to applying for future funding.”