Frequently Asked Questions

As we receive questions about the proposed developments, we will provide responses via the Frequently Asked Questions section on this site.

Please submit your questions by email to: enquiries@hyndburnbc.gov.uk and include the subject line ‘Leisure Review’.

What are the Council’s plans for transforming the leisure centres?

We will be significantly investing to create more modern, innovative services which better meet the needs of residents and visitors.

We are working towards ensuring the leisure centres can meet the needs of local people, are affordable and have the right mix of facilities to positively improve people’s physical and mental health & wellbeing through physical activity.

The plans include a review of current services and the introduction of new products to increase participation and the sustainability of the centre.

How have we decided what to do where?

We have been working to identify the types of facilities and services which would have the most impact in each area and be the most cost effective and economical to deliver. We have considered current levels of use, social data, market trends / research, current levels of demand as well as a range of other factors to ensure our proposals will have the greatest possible impact on health and levels of income. Throughout the review process the Council have obtained specialist expert advice and have commissioned essential research including:

  • Conditions surveys for all sites
  • Concrete surveys for all sites
  • Playing Pitch Strategy
  • Built Facility Strategy
  • Sport England National Run Report for Swimming Pool provision
  • Sport England National Run Report for Sports Halls
  • Latent Demand reports
  • Sport England 2019 National Benchmarks

Why do the proposals not include a refurbishment at Mercer Hall Leisure Centre?

It has been independently assessed that the current facility is no longer fit for purpose, having already been converted from a dance hall to a swimming pool and leisure facility.  The realistic life expectancy of the Mercer Hall Leisure Centre site, in particular the swimming pool and associated equipment has now lapsed.   It has been independently assessed that a refurbishment of this site in its current form would not provide value for money and is not a commercially viable option to progress.  It has also been identified that investment in this site would not facilitate the development and delivery of a transformational approach to leisure services which is focussed upon ‘wellness’ and improving the health of the local population.

What are the future plans for the Mercer Hall Leisure Centre site?

The facility is a local asset and the Council wish to work with the local community to identify a future use for the site.  The Council has previously successfully achieved similar projects across the borough including Great Harwood Town Hall, Elmfield Hall and Churchfield House.

What is TAGactive?

TAGactive promotes fitness, fun and competition. It is an arena-based game designed to test strategy, speed, agility, awareness and bravery. The arena is a multi-storey structure of inter-connected activity challenge areas. Each area contains approximately 5-7 challenges that require mental and physical agility. The arena is split into separated zones, permitting more people to play in the arena at any one time.  TAGactive can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities and will provide opportunities for a wide range of people to participate in physical activity.

Will existing Leisure Centre users and clubs be affected?

Different areas of the Leisure Centres are used for a wide variety of sports/leisure uses and clubs.  Some of these uses will be unaffected by the proposals, those that are we will contact and work with them to identify, where possible, suitable alternatives. The Council are considering all options and all possible continuity arrangements, where possible the Council intends to operate services as usual, but there will be some disruption. As this becomes clear, we will be consulting with all existing members and the wider communities.

Once a final decision has been made, how long will it take to complete the works?

The overall programme of transforming our leisure centres is likely to take several years and the proposed timeline is included in the ‘proposal’ section of this site.  We will aim to complete the programme in the most appropriate and cost-effective manner. We also aim to maintain our services as best we can during the process.

Why is a Gymnastics hall being considered at Hyndburn Leisure Centre?

Over recent years demand for Gym Tots and Super Gymnastics classes at Hyndburn Leisure Centre has increased significantly.  The proposed development would provide a dedicated gymnastics hall with high-quality facilities including a sprung floor and apparatus.  The space would be programmed to provide weekly classes for people of all ages and ability levels.

How much parking will there be, and will it include disabled parking and electric charging points?

As we work up our plans, we are considering parking as one of many operational considerations, particularly for the new build facility. Where possible we will factor in enough parking and make our facilities as accessible and inclusive as we possibly can, which of course includes an appropriate provision for disabled parking.  An outcome of this project is to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon outputs across our Leisure estate, so features like electric charging points for cars will be a consideration.

What provision is being considered for disabled access to the facilities and services?

The Council will ensure that accessibility is considered as part of each refurbishment and new build, in addition we will be consulting with a range of groups to review and ensure that the proposals are as accessible as possible.

Why is a 4-lane, 25m pool being recommended for the new Leisure site?

The size of pool reflects demand illustrated in the Built Facilities Strategy.  As a borough we already have a 6-lane 25m pool located at Accrington Academy and a 5-lane 25m with two separate learning pool areas at Hyndburn Leisure Centre. The existing pool at Mercer Hall Leisure Centre is performing in the bottom quartile, according to Sport England national benchmarks.  The new pool should encourage increased usage and income and be more efficient to operate.

Why will the pool at Mercer Hall not be available to customers when the facility reopens in April 2021?

For a number of years, the pool at Mercer Hall has been losing water.  During the first lockdown the scale of the issue was fully realised, with the pool emptying within a 3-month period, losing 254,000 litres of water.  Specialist engineers and pool specialists have been on site to investigate the issue, but to date this work has been inconclusive.  Further investigative works are required, which will involve digging out the pool bottom and sides. We are also currently waiting for structural reports to understand if it is possible to consider refilling the pool in its current condition.   Movement of the pool tank has been an issue in the past at the facility, resulting in cracks in the pool tank and movement on the building itself. The facility has previously had concrete piling undertaken to manage this issue.

Will the proposed development at Wilsons Playing Fields affect the current sports provision on the site?

The plans have been developed to enhance the existing sport & physical activity offer at Wilsons Playing Fields.  The site of the proposed Leisure facility will not impact on pitches or on the Athletics track.

The study clearly notes that Wilsons Athletics Track is a key site and the track is important now and in the future, as are the pitches.

Have we considered solar panels to reduce utility bills and improve energy efficiency? ​

Yes.  The Council has been successful with a bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund. This includes a number of large projects at Hyndburn Leisure Centre to carry out circa. £2m of works, which is fully funded by a grant.  This work commences in April 2021 and includes installing 652 Solar panels on the roof of the centre. 

The project also includes replacing end of life boilers and heating systems with two Air Source Heat pumps.  The overall project is due to be completed by the end of the year and is expected to reduce Carbon output at Hyndburn Leisure Centre by up to 74%. 

As we are in the proposal phase for a replacement site for Mercer Hall LC, no detailed designs have been produced, but the Council is very keen to ensure that measures are taken to maximise efficiency and reduce carbon outputs.

What is the annual refurbishment/maintenance cost at Hyndburn Leisure Centre (HLC) and Mercer Hall Leisure Centre (MHLC)?

In a typical year the Trust budgets £65k for servicing and maintenance works and £85k for repairs, so a total of £150k per year.  The Trust has also taken on £500k borrowing in recent years to install a Thermal suite at Hyndburn Leisure Centre and to refurbish and replace gym equipment at HLC and MHLC. 

If machinery breaks down e.g. boiler replacement is required or there are major construction repairs required e.g. roof, as landlord and owner the Council is responsible for covering the cost of these works.  

Will additional car parking be considered for the Wilsons Leisure site if this development goes ahead?

Yes.  We recognise that currently, at times, the site has insufficient parking for events leading to Wilsons Playing Field users parking on residential roads which causes problems for the residents.  The proposals for the new site include increasing the overall number of car parking spaces available to cater for Leisure facility users and existing site users, to help to reduce issues of insufficient parking.

There are problems with anti-social behaviour at the Wilsons Playing Field site and concerns that this will increase if a Leisure facility development goes ahead.

If plans go ahead, the site would be manned for long hours of the day including evenings and weekends, therefore supporting the control of negative behaviour.  As a Leisure Trust, we are also committed to addressing such issues by delivering positive activities to engage young people and have a track record of successfully achieving this.  The Council and Leisure Trust also operate CCTV inside and outside our facilities.

How will I be kept informed?

You can keep up to date by visiting the council website, through our social media feeds and through publication and materials at your local leisure centres.

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