Plans have been unveiled to sell off land for development at Melton Sports Village (MSV) and Waterfield Leisure Centre to pay for the town’s long-awaited new leisure facilities.
Almost four years ago, Melton Council approved a business case to build a new multi-million-pound sports complex on the old King Edward VII School site on Burton Road.
Subsequent plans were to include a new football stadium with seating for 500 spectators, a full-size 3G artificial grass pitch, health and fitness facilities and a new eight-court indoor sports hall which could also be used for a variety of activities including extreme sports.
The council bought the 30-acre site from the county council more than three years ago but little progress has since been made on the scheme.
A report to go before the council’s Place Committee tonight (Wednesday) states that the authority could not afford, on its own, to carry out the planned leisure redevelopment.
So councillors are being advised to spend £60,000 carrying out a review of both existing leisure sites to identify land which could be sold for development to help pay for new facilities.
The report says: “Both leisure sites have additional space that could be considered for a range of mixed use options including hotel, offices, managed workspace units, housing, extra care units, etc.
“Assessment of commercial viability of such options will help identify a preferred mix of uses that could maximise the value and use of these sites and generate capital/revenue income that can be reinvested for community benefits.”
No new leisure facilities would be in place before March 2022, when the council’s contract with SLM to manage and operate the MSV and Waterfield sites ends.
If councillors agree to carry out the commercial development review tonight it will result in a survey being carried on existing buildings and exploration of any legal constraints on developing the sites
Masterplans would also be commissioned, as part of the work, to include leisure options at both locations and the potential for building the likes of a hotel, offices, housing or care units. The review would also involve looking into ‘funding opportunities, investment models and partnership potentials’.
A final report would be expected to be delivered to the committee by next summer.
The latest proposals have come out of a review of the town’s leisure facilities by consultants, FMG, who were appointed by the council in April.
A spokesperson for Melton Council said: “Whilst we review options, we have encouraged all the sports clubs on the site to bring forward any commercially viable and funded development plans to see whether we can assist in their implementation.
“Melton Borough Council remains committed to identifying the most effective, affordable and deliverable means of providing future leisure facilities in Melton.”
Melton Town FC moved to the site in April 2016 with the intention that it would eventually play in the planned 500-seater stadium.
It has grown its fan base in recent years after moving up to Division 1 of the United Counties League and officials believe it could soon outgrow the sports village site at Burton Road.
Chairman Sam Ellis told the Melton Times: “The delay over the scheme has been very frustrating but we’ve got on with developing the ground ourselves.
“We’ve been getting record crowds of more than 100 and if we go up again we could be getting up to 250 for matches so we are going to need proper parking spaces.
“My view is that the mix of leisure facilities with sports clubs doesn’t mix very well on that site because it’s not big enough and I wouldn’t mind if they sold the land we play on and set us up on a new site just for the football club.”
Melton Mowbray Tennis Club, which was set up at the sports village two years ago, is concerned about its future with the continuing delay over the proposed redevelopment of the site.
Its four floodlit tarmac courts, which are more than 20 years old, are badly in need of upgrading but in order to secure promised funding from the Lawn Tennis Association and Sport England, the club, which has a thriving adult and youth membership and also runs sessions for people with special needs and disabilities, has to demonstrate that it has a secure long-term tenancy at the sports village.
Chairman Nigel Haynes said: “We understand the council has to make budget cuts but we would really like to see some progress on the site now.
“Our courts are old and tired and we desperately need to renovate them and if we can’t do that then we would have to fold, which would be a tragedy.”
FOUR OPTIONS (from consultants FMG report)
* Maintain existing facilities;
* Sell the MSV site for development and re-locate the existing facilities elsewhere in the town;
* Close indoor facilities at MSV but retain outdoor provision there, consolidating indoor facilities at Waterfield with some redevelopment such as adding a new sports hall:
* Explore commercial development on both sites to pay for new leisure facilities (the recommended option).
December 2014 - Melton Council approves business case for building new Melton Sports Village (MSV)
June 2015 - Borough council completes freehold purchase of former King Edward VII Upper School site from county council
March 2016 - Councillors agree to seek a consortium to build, operate and maintain the MSV
April 2016 - Melton Town FC play first match on sports village site with a temporary 100-seater stand
April 2018 - Council appoints consultants, FMG, to carry out a review of leisure facilities at MSV and Waterfield sites and options for future development
November 2018 - Councillors recommended to agree to look into sales of some of the land at the two sites to help pay for enhanced leisure facilities
Melton Sports Village, Burton Road
- Gym with advanced resistance weight training equipment
- Sports hall for indoor football, basketball, badminton, volleyball and table tennis
- Group exercise studio
- Full-size artificial surface pitch (home to Melton Hockey Club)
- Full-size grass football pitch (home of Melton Town FC)
- Full-size gras rugby pitch (home of Melton RFC)
- Four floodlit tennis courts
Waterfield Leisure Centre, Dalby Road
- Indoor swimming pool
- Gym with 75 exercise stations
- Group exercise studio