Decision not to close Broadbridge Heath Leisure centre vindicated by high demand

Visitor numbers increasing at Pavilions in the Park and other district leisure health facilities
Visitor numbers increasing at Pavilions in the Park and other district leisure health facilities

Horsham’s leisure centres recorded a bumper year in 2013 with visitor numbers increasing significantly.

Overall attendance at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre went up by 14.5 per cent, while gym attendances rose by 54 per cent.

In November 2011, the district’s largest leisure centre was scheduled for closure by Horsham District council, which stated that there existed an ‘oversupply’ of sports facilities in the area.

Following community campaigning supported by the County Times the leisure centre was saved, but will still be decommissioned in the next few years once an alternative facility has been built to the south of the existing premises.

With the benefit of hindsight, and in light of the growth in visitor numbers, HDC’s cabinet member for leisure services, Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead) said: “I’m very pleased with the decision the district has taken regarding the leisure provision for the whole district and we are at this moment evaluating all the changes in circumstances that we have had since last year.

“We will be coming forward with proposals for provision in the district very soon.”

This should include the new design plans for the replacement of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, while also in store for 2014 is the development of a high ropes assault course and refurbished health suite at Pavilions In The Park.

The town centre swimming complex recorded a 6.5 per cent increase in attendances in 2013 and new activities including Swim4Health and SWIMTAG will be launched this year.

Mr Chowen said he was relieved to see more people using Pavilions in the Park.

“I was very concerned because there has been a lot of chat on social media about fewer people using Pavilions because of higher parking costs etc,” said the council decision maker.

The facility, along with Billingshurst’s swimming pool, will be forced to close temporarily in 2014 at some stage for essential renovation works, but Mr Chowen said the length of closure would only be known following initial investigations.

Horsham district leisure services are run by DC Leisure, which was awarded the contract in 2012 and has since invested in facilities.

The kinetika gym at Pavilions In The Park has undergone refurbishment with all new equipment and the addition of a studio cycling room.

Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre has introduced a new gym only membership package offering better value for

money and therefore reducing financial barriers to accessing fitness facilities.

DC Leisure Contract Manager Tim Bolton said: “The investments DC Leisure has made in the centres are really paying off. It’s fantastic that so many local people use the centre’s for their fitness and leisure purposes.

“I’m particularly pleased to see the use at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre has increased from last year.”

Mr Chowen said the increase in attendances was ‘testament to the great partnership between Horsham District

Council and DC Leisure’.

“We look forward to continuing to improve health and wellbeing in the Horsham District in 2014 and beyond,” he added.What do you think? Leave a comment below, or email