‘Extremely exciting’ multi-million pound health and wellbeing hub with a new leisure facilities and GP surgery could be built in Weston Favell
The project would see ‘dated’ leisure facilities updated and new health services created.
A multi-million pound health and wellbeing hub including a GP surgery, a health diagnostics centre and revamped leisure facilities could be on the cards.
Northampton Borough Council is looking into the possibility of using publicly owned buildings and land around Weston Favell including Lings Forum to extend the health and leisure facilities in the area.
According to the council, the proposals are in the ‘early days’, but it has secured funding from One Public Estate, which is a Government initiative that appoints officers to make sure public land is used in the best way.
The health and wellbeing hub would use 3.8 hectares of land opposite Weston Favell Shopping Centre where Lings Forum is currently located.
The scheme could replace the current ‘dated’ leisure facilities, including the cinema, swimming pool and gym and could see the introduction of a GP surgery, a day care centre, a health diagnostics centre and community services.
Jonathan Nunn, leader of Northampton Borough Council said: “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.
“There are already people using social prescribing at Lings and we thought we should be doing something better.
“Health and wellbeing hubs are recognised models that are working around the country. Health professionals should be working with health and wellbeing experts.”
The council is currently waiting for a feasibility survey to be completed on the area, which will look at what land can be used, what buildings can be used, what can go in the buildings and what the cost would be.
Cllr Nunn added: “We need to identify the best use of the land and how to string it together, which is what the survey will help with.
“This particular piece of work we will hopefully be done by late summer or autumn and this will tell us what are options are.”
Cllr Nunn explained that it would be a lengthy process between completing the survey, planning permission being granted and the project actually coming to life.
He said that it was ‘too early’ to know a time scale for the scheme, but that it would be ‘a couple of years’ after the survey is completed before the project ‘gets moving’.
“It’s early days but we’re extremely excited about it,” Cllr Nunn added.
“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.”
Sport England is already involved in the work and a project board has been established to guide the delivery.
Cllr Nunn expects the project to cost ‘tens of millions of pounds’, but says it is too early to say exactly how much.
Northampton Borough Council hopes to appoint an organisation to complete the survey work in early March. Once this work is complete there should be a clearer indication of what exactly can be done and how much it will cost.