Town planners approve £3million leisure centre extension despite 'overloaded' junction concerns - The Evesham Observer

Town planners approve £3million leisure centre extension despite 'overloaded' junction concerns

Evesham Editorial 2nd Nov, 2017 Updated: 2nd Nov, 2017   0

A MAJOR £3million extension of Evesham Leisure Centre has been given the green light by town planning chiefs despite fears the Abbey Road junction to the site could become ‘overloaded’.

As the Observer revealed in April, Wychavon District Council want to add a two-storey ‘Health and Well-being’ extension to the side of the leisure centre which first opened its doors back in 2009.

The ambitious plans passed their first hurdle on Monday when a majority of councillors on Evesham Town Council’s planning committee backed the proposals.

But speaking at the meeting, Coun Colin Tether raised concerns the junction to the site on Abbey Road could become ‘overloaded.’

“I’ve got concerns about the traffic generation this extension will produce. There are queues already coming out of the Leisure Centre and this extension is just going to make it a much more attractive place for cars to go and park,” he said.

“I’m concerned the existing junction will not cope. In their comment highways said in view of the traffic assessment produced by the applicants it must be okay. Well I don’t think it’s going to be okay. I think the junction is going to be overloaded.”

Following Coun Tether’s concerns, councillors urged Wychavon to review the impact the extension will have on the junction.

As part of the extension, the leisure centre’s gym area will be expanded by using the current studio space. The studio space would then be replaced in the first floor of the extension.

A further studio and activity space is also proposed for the ground floor of the new building, with meeting rooms, storage spaces, a small kitchen and an additional accessible toilet included.

Well-being providers will also be invited to rent space in the new ‘Health and Well-being’ wing to help them expand their activities and services.

And due to the increased parking demand the new offering would generate, the current car park will also be expanded.

Wychavon District Council will stump up the cash for the project with operators Wychavon Leisure then paying back £100,000 a year.

The application will now be discussed by Wychavon planning chiefs with district councillors having the ultimate say on whether the extension gets the go ahead.

Should the plans be approved, construction work is anticipated to start in the spring with the revamped centre open in January 2019.

The leisure centre will remain open throughout the construction period.

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