Deepings Leisure Centre could face demolition if multi-million takeover bidder not found

After failed multi-million repair plans, the disused leisure centre awaits takeover ploy
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Lincolnshire County Council is offering a lifeline to the Deepings Leisure Centre by inviting third-party takeover proposals, but has warned it could face demolition.

The County Council’s executive will present this plan on July 4, aiming to secure a party that can present a sustainable and viable business case for refurbishing and running the site.

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Councillor Richard Butroid, Executive Member for Corporate Property, has been vocal about this course of action.

Deepings Leisure CentreDeepings Leisure Centre
Deepings Leisure Centre

“We are not in a position to take on the running of the site, particularly given the significant repairs that are required,” he said.

“However, we are keen to see that facility reopen within the within the Market Deeping area and support local people.”

He added that the council recognised the centre’s importance to the local community and thus proposes inviting expressions of interest from third parties for long-term operation.

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Councillor Butroid said estimates to repair the building would run into the millions just to get it back up and running, however he said: “We think that’s probably achievable for a third party to do and then to build on that going forward.”

He also called upon the South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), which ran the centre until January 2023, to extend its support due to its responsibility for local leisure facilities.

“We would also expect SKDC to lend their support as the local authority,” he asserted.

Currently unoccupied, Deepings Leisure Centre is in need of substantial repairs.

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The proposal encourages potential operators to consider shared usage with The Deepings School, which requires a permanent sports hall. However, agreement from the school trust and the Department for Education is a pre-requisite.

Should no suitable third-party be identified, the council will consider razing the building and transferring the land to the Anthem Schools Trust, the managing body of The Deepings School.

“That would not be an easy decision to make, but we feel it’s time to end the ongoing uncertainty around the future of the leisure centre and set out a clear way forward,” said Councillor Butroid.

Prior to the executive’s verdict on July 4, the proposal will be assessed by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board at its meeting on June 29.

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Deepings Leisure Centre has faced a tumultuous past, with issues arising from structural disrepair to shifts in management.

The present decision by the County Council represents a pivotal moment in determining the future of the centre, with hopes of securing a sustainable solution that respects the needs and desires of the local community.

The centre closed in 2021 due to serious health and safety concerns over a leaky roof. Repairs have since been cancelled due to spiralling costs and complications regarding the lack of a lease.

South Kesteven District Council had previously abandoned a £10 million renovation plan for the centre in November 2021. It has now been passed back to Lincolnshire County Council.

However, following the May elections hopes had been renewed that the new leadership would offer more support.