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Update on plans for Clifton Hill Sports Centre site

Published: 13 September 2018

Clifton Hill Sports Centre site Clifton Hill Sports Centre site

Council officers are progressing a feasibility study on the options available for the future sale and development of Exeter’s Clifton Hill Leisure Centre site.

It follows the decision by Heritage England not to consider the Sports Centre building suitable for listing following a request from a member of the public.

A report by Historic England concludes: “After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. The Clifton Hill Sports Centre is not recommended for listing.”

"The Clifton Hill Sports Centre is not recommended for listing." - Historic England
The council’s feasibility study will consider issues including restrictions on the site due to its conservation areas status, and the fact that part of the site is contaminated land. Councillors have previously stipulated the site will not be sold for student accommodation.

Members will be asked to consider the findings of this research in December 2018, when a report will be considered through the democratic processes, which will set out the options for the future development and sale of the site.

Assuming council reaches a decision in December the site, or parts of it, will then be put up for sale. The new owner of the site will then need to work with the local community and planning officers on detailed plans for any development, which will be considered through the usual planning process.

Meanwhile, the City Council is also undertaking community research, together with its local partners, for the Sport England Local Delivery Pilot. This work will also inform options on the future development of the site.

To ensure the views of the community are heard, Exeter-based Wild Zones will hold a series of listening events throughout September and October. Wild Zones will use innovative and fun ways to consult with Newtown residents, to get their views on how to promote and develop a healthy, active neighbourhood.

Following representations from Newtown and St Leonard’s ward councillors, and in the light of the loss of the leisure centre as a community hub, Exeter City Council provided £200,000 of funding to Newtown Community Association, to enable it to meet the cost of a new community hut in Belmont Park.

* In March 2018 Clifton Hill Sports Centre suffered significant damage in the severe snow falls which led to the first ever Red weather warning for England. The unprecedented amounts of snow resulted in water ingress into the building, compounding existing problems.

In June this year the council’s Executive backed a recommendation for the permanent closure of Clifton Hill Sports Centre, together with a package of measures including spending more than £3 million on improving and updating existing facilities at Exeter’s leisure centres.

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