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Meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 14/11/2001
GODALMING LEISURE NEEDS STUDY - IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES



This report was considered by the Godalming Leisure Needs Special Interest Group at its first meeting on 23rd October 2001. This report introduces the draft masterplan for Broadwater Park prepared by the Council’s consultants. It discusses the implications of the proposals for the future of the park and those who have an interest in it.

There are no immediate environmental, “Opportunities for All”, financial, human rights or crime and disorder implications arising from the report, although such implications would arise from the eventual implementation of all or part of the masterplan.
APPENDIX C

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

ENVIRONMENT OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
14TH NOVEMBER 2001
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Title:
GODALMING LEISURE NEEDS STUDY – IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

[Wards Affected: All Godalming Wards]
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Summary and Purpose

This report was considered by the Godalming Leisure Needs Special Interest Group at its first meeting on 23rd October 2001. This report introduces the draft masterplan for Broadwater Park prepared by the Council’s consultants. It discusses the implications of the proposals for the future of the park and those who have an interest in it.

There are no immediate environmental, “Opportunities for All”, financial, human rights or crime and disorder implications arising from the report, although such implications would arise from the eventual implementation of all or part of the masterplan.
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Introduction

1. One of the recommendations of the Godalming Leisure Needs Study adopted by the Council was the preparation of a masterplan for the use and management of Broadwater Park, Godalming. The justification for this proposal was the overwhelming significance of the park as a recreational resource, and the increasing difficulties of managing the growing aspirations of different users.

2. A further issue arose from another recommendation of the Leisure Needs Study. This was the decision to give consideration to the redevelopment of the existing Leisure Centre as a medium to long-term objective. Before issues such as funding and design can be addressed, a decision must be made on the preferred location. It is important to determine whether this should be on the existing site, elsewhere in Godalming, or elsewhere in Broadwater Park.

3. After a competitive tender the Council appointed Parklife Ltd to undertake the study, and their report has now been received, a copy of which is attached as a separate document as Annexe 1 (Copies of the report have been circulated to Members of the Council only and copies will be available to other interested parties on request).

Benefits of Masterplanning approach

4. The essential purpose of the masterplanning approach is to seek to achieve a consensus about how the park should be used and managed in the future, and how the various users can work together to achieve mutual benefits. This is particularly important at Broadwater where there are a number of sports clubs who have leases and landholdings, important neighbours, and a large body of informal users. Without an understanding of the overall plan for the development of the park, they may pursue individual aims and objectives which conflict with each other, or which miss opportunities for joint working. A schedule of the various leases is attached as Annexe 2 to give an indication of the interests involved and the plan at Annexe 3 identifies their locations.

5. Your officers envisage that the achievement of the masterplan would form the basis for consideration of the Council’s own projects in the park, and for consideration of financial support for the third-party projects.

6. One of these projects would be the achievement of the redeveloped Godalming Leisure Centre. Without a masterplanning approach, the Council might eventually face a position where a new facility can be funded but a suitable site cannot be found.

7. It should be emphasised that the masterplanning approach does not imply that everything has to be carried out ‘at once’ with all the attendant difficulties. In fact the complete opposite is true. The masterplanning approach ensures that smaller projects can be implemented because their contribution to the overall outcome can be seen and fully understood.

Content of Masterplan

8. Representatives of Parklife Ltd will be attending the meeting to explain the thinking behind the draft masterplan and the various elements that are shown in the coloured-up plans in the report.

9. Members of the Special Interest Group (SIG) recognised that changes are suggested that would have a major impact on formal and informal users of the park. It is fully understood that these would require significant resources and the full co-operation of various sports clubs and organisations.

10. The masterplan objectives can only be achieved in partnership with others. This is the reason why it is vital to obtain their support through the process that is suggested later in the report.

Godalming Leisure Centre

11. The Godalming Leisure Needs Study identified that the Leisure Centre is both well used and managed, but that given its age and significance it is important to consider its replacement within the next five years or thereabouts. Before any consideration can be given to its funding or detailed planning issues, it is necessary to consider an appropriate location.

12. The Parklife report concludes that the existing location is a constraint on both the leisure centre and the park. Access is not good, it would be difficult to extend the footprint of the building within the constraints of the surrounding trees, boundaries and listed building, and there is no synergy between the use of the park and the use of the leisure centre.

13. After considering other options, the report suggests that detailed evaluation be undertaken of two alternatives. One is a facility within the school campus, the second on land currently occupied by the rugby club. Both options have pros and cons, and need to be examined carefully in conjunction with the two organisations. Eventually this will lead to a preferred option emerging. From that point, issues relating to funding, planning and so on can be pursued.

14. Your officers suggest that this is the correct process for the Council to follow. Although it may attract premature expectations that the project can proceed (which it cannot do until funding is available), it is essential that the preferred location be agreed before any serious project development can be undertaken.

Next Steps

15. The Godalming Leisure Needs SIG considered the Parklife report and has agreed to recommend to the Executive that officers undertake a formal consultation with all interested parties, without prejudice to any final outcome. This may involve some controversy, but informal soundings suggest that there will be considerable support for many of the suggestions. The findings of the consultation will be reported to the SIG, after which it is hoped that a final version of the masterplan can be brought forward for approval by the Council.

17. The process described does not involve any financial or policy commitments by the Council, beyond eventually agreeing that there is a preferred outcome.

18. This report will have been considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting on 13th November 2001. This Committee is invited to make any comments as part of the consultation process which can be included in any future deliberations of the Godalming Leisure Needs SIG.

Conclusion

18. It is suggested that the proposals and options put forward by Parklife represent a sound basis for detailed discussions with interested organisations. On completion of this process a further report will be submitted to the SIG.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Committee make any observations on the Masterplan as part of the consultation process, to be reported back to the next meeting of the Godalming Leisure Needs Special Interest Group.
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Background Papers (DE&L)

Godalming Leisure Needs Study – report to the Council by PMP Consultancy Ltd, August 1999
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398
E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk