Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cambridge City Residents Given Glimmer Of Hope In Hotel Leisure Centre Fight

Cambridge residents fighting to save the leisure centre at the city’s Doubletree by Hilton hotel have been given a glimmer of hope.

After lobbying by Cambridge City Councillor, Rod Cantrill and objections from residents, planning officers have accepted that a scheme to convert the hotel’s existing swimming pool and fitness building into extra bedrooms is contrary to the city’s planning policy on leisure facilities.

They have asked the Ability Group which runs the hotel in Granta Place, Mill Lane to provide evidence as to why the leisure centre cannot be provided on site. If it fails to do so it should provide new premises for the leisure centre, the group has been told.

Cllr Cantrill, who represents Newnham has written to residents who objected to the loss of the leisure centre to give them the news.

He said: “We have worked hard to save the leisure centre which is used extensively by groups and individuals in the city. Officers have looked closely at the city’s Local Plan and agreed that the loss of the centre would be contrary to planning policy.

“This is good news because it means we might be able to save the centre. It’s used by all ages, for adult and children swimming lessons six days a week and people use the gym. If we lose the leisure centre we would lose a valuable amenity for the city.”

The centre includes a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and workout studio, sauna and solarium.

The Ability Group plans to convert the centre to form 13 additional bedrooms and build a third floor extension to provide an additional 16 bedrooms. There would also be a fitness suite.

But Cambridge City Council planners were told: “The leisure facilities that are being proposed in this application are not of the same scale or variety as those existing on the site. Current users of the site will not have the same options when considering using the new leisure facilities on the site, this reduction in choice will harm the quality of the leisure offer of the site.”