Council makes new Weston Favell health and wellbeing hub ‘a leading priority’ as public consultation begins

Residents are invited to have their say on the project that could see 'dated' leisure facilities replaced

By Carly Odell
Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 6:30 am
Buildings surrounding Lings Forum and leisure centre could be part of the new development.
Buildings surrounding Lings Forum and leisure centre could be part of the new development.

A new project to turn old public sector buildings into a multi-million pound health and wellbeing hub has reached the public consultation stage.

The hub will be based in Weston Favell, potentially on the site of the former Lings Upper School and will replace Lings Forum Leisure Centre, Weston Favell Health Centre, Forum Centre and Olympus House.

The potential site. Photo: Continuum Sport and Leisure

The council has now identified the scheme, which could include new and replaced facilities such as a library, cinema, swimming pools, sports halls, a gym, social care services, GP surgeries, mental health services and dentistry, as ‘a leading priority’.

Speaking to Chronicle and Echo previously, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Jonathan Nunn, said: “We’re extremely excited about it.

“It’s exciting because we want the best for all of Northampton but particularly that part of town, which is not looked after well enough, and I think this is something we can move forward with.

“The first thing is we’re mindful that Lings Forum has served the community since the 70s. The facilities need refreshing. There’s a big demand for health services in the area and the area deserves better.

“The leisure centre needs something to happen and it probably is redevelopment.

“It’s a bit dated and it doesn’t offer what we think the residents deserve these days.”

Now that a design and feasibility study has be started, members of the public are being invited to have their say on the plans, which would replace 3.8 hectares of public sector buildings and land.

Councillor Tim Hadland, Council Cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, added: “It is vital that we get as many opinions as possible about how this site can best be developed, so we can ensure it meets the needs of the community.

“There are already some amazing examples in other parts of the country and while we would like to replicate their success, we also want something that is built around our residents’ wishes.”

A huge number of local organisations including, Weston Favell Shopping Centre, Northampton Leisure Trust, Northamptonshire County Council, Northamptonshire Sport, Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, NHS NENE Clinical Commissioning Group, and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, will be in partnership with the council for the project.

Julie Lemmy, deputy director of primary care, NHS Nene CCG, said: “Having a fit-for-purpose primary care building at Weston Favell is a priority for the CCG and we are therefore keen to hear from patients and residents about what we can do to improve the current site.”

Due to the pandemic, an online public consultation room has been created for local people to look around and find out more information about the project.

The online public consultation room opened today (September 14) and will remain open until (October 12). It can be found here.

There is also an online survey for residents, which can be accessed here.The council hopes to host a drop-in session later in the autumn where the public will be able to see emerging plans and architects’ impressions.

A final design and feasibility study is then expected to be submitted to the council by December this year.

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