A six-week consultation is being held by Chesterfield Borough Council to get the public’s views on the future use of the old Queen’s Park Sport Centre site.
Councillors recently granted planning permission to demolish the old building, in Boythorpe Road, which closed when the new £11.25 million Queen’s Park Sports Centre opened in January.
A range of different possible future uses for the site have been considered and tested against four criteria. From these, the council’s preferred option is to have 3G all-weather multi-sport pitches on the site with a surface that can be used for football, hockey, rugby and athletics training and recreational use.
Chesterfield Borough Council is asking residents and businesses for their views on the preferred option – but also seeking alternative suggestions that meet the criteria the council is using to decide what the future use of the site should be.
Councillor Amanda Serjeant, cabinet member for town centre and visitor economy, said: “The former sports centre sits next to the grade two star listed Queen’s Park so it is important that what goes there is in keeping with that heritage site and the strict planning rules that come with it.
“In an era of council budget cuts whatever goes on the site also needs to generate an income rather than cost tax payers more money.”
The borough currently has fewer 3G all-weather sports pitches than is recommended for a population of its size and the use would be in keeping with the sport and leisure heritage of the site.
Councillor Serjeant added: “While this is our preferred option at this stage no decisions have been taken. So as well as getting views on that option we also want to hear from anyone who has other great ideas and can show us how they would meet the criteria we are working to.”
The consultation runs from today (Monday 12 September) to Friday 21 October and can be found online, along with further information and a map of the site, at www.chesterfield.gov.uk/qpscsurvey
Paper copies are also available from the new Queen’s Park Sports Centre in Boythorpe Road; the Healthy Living Centre in Barlow Road, Staveley; and our customer service centre in New Square.
Drop-in consultation sessions will also be held on:
- Monday 26 September in Morrisons, Chatsworth Road from 10am to 7pm
- Thursday 6 October at Chesterfield Market Place from 10am to 3pm
There will also be a session held at Chesterfield College freshers’ fair to get the views of students.
All options have been tested against four principles that the site use should:
- Generate income and not cost council taxpayers any extra money
- Support Council Plan objectives to improve the quality of life for local people, support a thriving borough, and deliver value for money
- Complement Queen's Park, with its grade two star heritage listing, and other facilities in the town centre and borough
- Be well-used throughout the year and provide added value for the community
The council has considered various options against these criteria and has provisionally ruled them out for the following reasons:
- Indoor leisure provision eg ice rink/roller skating/soft play - operators of these facilities usually want ‘shed’ buildings and they would not be appropriate from a planning perspective. The council also doesn’t believe these uses would be financially viable without the council subsidising running costs.
- Cultural use eg for exhibitions, artist studios, events - this use could complement the park but usually requires significant subsidies to operate.
- Outdoor leisure provision eg high ropes, climbing, water features - while this type of use would add to the facilities offered at Queen’s Park, it is not felt financially viable without the council subsidising running costs.
- To add an extension to the existing park - this would add to the cost of maintaining and improving the park and put pressure on already tight budgets.
- Shopping – given planning policies this is not felt a suitable location.
- Housing – while there is a need to increase town centre housing the council does not feel this is an appropriate use for the site.
- Car parking – as there are car parks either side of the site, and spare capacity in other car parks, there is not felt to be demand for more in this location.
- Restaurant/pub use – the council does not feel this use would complement the park and there are other locations that would be more appropriate
- Selling the land – the council would have would have far less control on ensuring the use is appropriate to the park’s heritage setting.
Although these options have been provisional ruled out the council is happy to hear alterative views from individuals, businesses or sports groups who can show how they would be viable.
A decision on a future use is expected to be made by early 2017, once the consultation responses have been analysed and considered.