Council considers proposals for Queen’s Leisure Centre
Published: 6 December 2021
Councillors will consider the future of Queen’s Leisure Centre at a meeting of Derby City Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 8 December.
Previous Cabinet meetings in 2017 and 2019, set the expectation that the centre would close when the new Moorways Sports Village opens in 2022. This was due to the significant benefits the new facility would bring in line with the city’s leisure strategy.
Sport England carried out a strategic assessment for provision of swimming pools in September 2021. It concluded that the location and scale of Moorways Sports Village, with its very extensive swimming activities offer, can meet the projected demand for swimming by Derby residents, without the current services being delivered at Queens Leisure Centre.
At the Cabinet meeting members will also consider information from an Equalities Impact Assessment and a recent public consultation on Queens Leisure Centre.
The report to Cabinet states the future investment in Queen’s Leisure Centre would not represent value for money due to its age and design. Queen’s Leisure Centre opened in 1932 and underwent extensive refurbishment in 1992. Work was completed to the roof of the Family Pool in 2017, however, the teaching pool, teaching pool changing rooms and gym have been closed since November 2020 due to structural problems.
The new Moorways Sports Village will be run by a leisure operating partner, who is due to be announced early in the New Year. In terms of access to the new facility, the Council and the partner operator will look to work with public transport providers and promote active travel to the site.
To maintain fair access, the arrangement with the successful partner operator will enable the Council to set and approve prices in some core activities such as casual swimming, water park sessions, learn to swim and health and fitness membership. The partner operator will also be required to offer a concessionary pricing scheme reflecting those already in place across the city’s leisure facilities.
As part of negotiations, all the leisure operators under consideration have confirmed they will accept the transfer of staff from Queen’s Leisure Centre, as their skills and experience will help get the new facility up and running.
Work on the new Moorways Sports Village in the south of the city is well advanced, with the centre due to open in spring 2022 as planned. The new facility has a 50m swimming pool which uses moveable booms and floors to provide up to three 25m length pools of varying depths which can be used at any one time. It will also have a separate teaching pool.
The new facility has an exciting water park with a wave-making Wow ball, two flumes, racer slides, water play elevation and a wave rider. Other features include a café, two soft play areas, a 120- station gym, three fitness studios and four meeting rooms.
Councillor Ross McCristal, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing, said:
We recognise that Queen’s Leisure Centre means a lot to the people of Derby and especially to its regular users, but we also have to acknowledge that it has outlived its useful life as a leisure centre. Any investment we make it in now will not be worth it in the long term, because it will never live up to the up-to-date facilities that Moorways Sports Village will provide.
We understand it will mean some customers will no longer have a swimming pool nearby, and we are talking to bus providers about routes to that area of the city. But for those living in the south of the city, it will open up new opportunities for swimming, which they don’t currently have. We will also be working with the successful tenderer and we are confident that they will retain the skills of our staff from Queen’s.
The report outlines that if the decision was made to cease activities at Queen’s Leisure Centre, the building would be included in an area of the city centre known as the Northern Quarter, which represents a key regeneration opportunity within the city centre.
The Council is progressing a new city centre plan, which will enable wider city economic diversification and growth, and the attraction and retention of talent for the city and region, which is an important agenda for Derby’s future potential.