Harborough district village takes steps towards getting its own £3.5 million leisure centre

Broughton Astley Parish Council chairman Clive Grafton-Reed and Mrs Debbie Barber, parish manager sign the letter of intent watched by members of the council.
Broughton Astley Parish Council chairman Clive Grafton-Reed and Mrs Debbie Barber, parish manager sign the letter of intent watched by members of the council.

A plan for a major new £3.5 million leisure centre for the Harborough district took a big step forward this week.

The backers of Broughton Astley Leisure Centre – the parish council – signed a Letter of Intent with Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading leisure management companies.

The plan is that Parkwood will now design, build, operate and maintain Broughton Astley’s Leisure Centre.

The new centre will include a four-court sports hall, a 70 station gym, two dance studios, a cafe and an outdoor play area. If enough extra funding can be secured, an artificial grass pitch will be included in the design.

Broughton Astley parish council chairman Clive Grafton-Reed said: “This is another step on the road to delivering what residents voted for on the Neighbourhood Plan.

“It’s taken longer than any of us would have liked, but working with the developers and Harborough District Council I hope we can now move quickly to build a facility to meet the needs of our growing population presently and for future generations”.

Parish manager, Mrs Debbie Barber said “I welcome the opportunity of working with Parkwood Leisure in delivering this much anticipated facility for the residents of Broughton Astley. We are now well on the way to fulfilling a major part of the Neighbourhood Plan.”

Expanding Broughton Astley now has a population of more than 9,000 – about the equivalent of Lutterworth.

Last year there was anger in the village because locals claimed Harborough District Council had overlooked Broughton Astley in a leisure review that concentrated on Market Harborough and Lutterworth.

A perceived “unfair allocation of resourccs” across the district was a major reason for the ousting of former district council leader Blake Pain. He vehemently denied any favouritism.

Parkwood Leisure, the company chosen to build and operate Broughton Astley Leisure Centre, has been established in the UK leisure market since the early 1990’s.

It operates leisure centres for 25 different local authorities, including Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and several London Boroughs. It also operates Desborough Leisure Centre in north Northamptonshire for Kettering Borough Council.