PLANS for Cardiff Blues to run Pentwyn Leisure Centre as a community leisure facility, following an extensive refurbishment that will include a new swimming pool, gym area, 3G pitch and café, has been revealed.
The proposals, which are part of a Cardiff Council review of the leisure services provided by GLL/Better Cardiff, are designed to improve the long-term sustainability of the leisure contract agreed with the council in 2016, and would also see the velodrome at Maindy Leisure Centre removed from the contract with the not-for-profit social enterprise, and a new velodrome built at the International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay.
Moving the velodrome to the Bay enables the delivery of a new Cathays High School on the site. The report states that the new velodrome will be “constructed and operational” before the existing facility is closed. Maindy Leisure Centre itself would not be affected and would remain open to the public, and in its current location.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, said:
“Leisure providers across the UK have faced serious financial challenges as a result of Covid-19 and GLL are no exception. What these proposals do is use those challenges as an opportunity to rethink how leisure services operate in Cardiff, address some longstanding issues, and ensure that as the city recovers from the impact of Covid-19, residents have access to the affordable, high-quality leisure facilities they deserve.
“Before Christmas we committed to using the current period, while Pentwyn Leisure Centre is being used as a mass vaccination centre, to secure the long-term future of the centre and invest in improving facilities there. The proposed new partnership with Cardiff Blues will allow us to deliver those improvements, recoup the money we intend to invest, and remove an outdated, loss-making facility from the GLL contract, so that they can focus on delivering the sort of high-quality leisure facilities seen at newly-refurbished facilities such as Eastern and Fairwater Leisure Centres.”
If approved at the Council Cabinet Meeting on Thursday 18 March the proposals would see the upstairs areas at Pentwyn Leisure Centre retained for dedicated use by Cardiff Blues. The downstairs area would be reconfigured to provide a much-improved cross-fit gymnasium, a new 25m swimming pool, retention of the main hall, community rooms, a new catering concession, and some office space to be utilised by the Blues.
Although the building is leased to Cardiff & Vale UHB until February 2022, subject to planning permission, work to areas of the centre most in need of investment, such as the swimming pool, which sits outside the area being used for Covid-19 vaccinations, could be carried out immediately.
Outdoors, the plan is to replace the existing grass pitch with a 3G pitch and a new mini 3G pitch. 3G pitches are playable 52 weeks per year and can accommodate the equivalent number of fixtures as four grass pitches. The new 3G facility will also be designed to meet the criteria of the Welsh League structure and ground regulations, enabling local clubs to potentially climb higher in the Welsh football pyramid.
The report states that Cardiff Blues have offered to develop the site as a Community Rugby Hub and will provide community access to the Cardiff Blues services such as medical and physio, as well as making learning opportunities and apprenticeships available.
The report also proposes that in order to improve efficiencies and enable the smarter deployment of resources, GLL operated centres across Cardiff move to a cashless automated payment system, and replace the existing receptionist service with a new concierge service.
No compulsory redundancies are anticipated as a result of the proposals.