Brighton & Hove councillors to decide the future of the King Alfred Leisure Centre next week

Graham Robson July 10, 2024

Brighton & Hove councillors are being asked to agree to progress the development of a new leisure facility on part of the existing King Alfred seafront site.

The recommendation, which goes before Cabinet next week, follows what the city council calls a ‚Äúcomprehensive search‚ÄĚ, where two proposed site options for a new leisure centre were identified. The existing King Alfred site, which is home to LGBTQ+ swimming group Out to Swim Brighton & Hove, and the council-owned green space at the land south of Sainsbury‚Äôs in West Hove, were presented to residents for comment in January 2024.

According to the council, a new facility on the existing site would deliver ‚Äúsignificant benefits‚ÄĚ for the city and development would match City Plan Part 1 allocation for a sports facility and residential development on the site.

Conversely, while a site on the land south of Sainsbury‚Äôs has, the council says, ‚Äúthe potential to deliver the greatest economic and health and wellbeing benefits‚ÄĚ, the council has revealed there are planning and legal factors which would add time, cost, and risk to the delivery of the project.

The council also states that development on near to Sainsbury’s site would mean the loss of green space and would require an alternative ground to be found for Portslade Cricket Club.

According to the council, refurbishing the current site is not an option due to the extensive work needed to extend the usable life of the facility by around 10 years , which would ‚Äúnot be a good investment‚ÄĚ.

Going down this route, the council says, would not deliver ‚Äúmore or better facilities‚ÄĚ that would meet modern sporting standards and it would not improve the energy or space efficiency of the building. During that time, the running costs would remain high and heat loss, heating costs, and emissions would remain much higher than for a new build.

After 10 years, the council has said it would still need to be replaced with a modern facility.

Councillor Alan Robins, Cabinet Member for Sports and Recreation, said: “The King Alfred Leisure Centre is still popular and well-loved, but it’s near the end of its life, is in constant need of repair and is expensive to run.

“The health and wellbeing needs of our residents is a priority, so it’s really important we listened to what they actually wanted from a new sports centre.

‚ÄúHaving looked at what residents said, alongside cost and viability, we believe a new facility on the existing site will deliver a modern, energy efficient leisure centre that residents can be proud of for years to come.‚ÄĚ

During the meeting on July 18, Cabinet members will be asked to agree that part of the existing seafront King Alfred site is the preferred site for the development of a new sports and leisure facility to replace the ageing King Alfred Leisure Centre in the west of the city.

They are also being asked to approve an estimated £2.7 million budget to progress the design of the project and agree how the capital budget and ongoing revenue costs will be funded.