3.5 million visit controversial Basildon Sporting Village

Great success – Greg Barsby Sporting Village manager, right, with staff Garry Firth, Lacey Hall, Gordon Searle, Lasha Lloyd and Tom Fletcher

Great success – Greg Barsby Sporting Village manager, right, with staff Garry Firth, Lacey Hall, Gordon Searle, Lasha Lloyd and Tom Fletcher

First published in Echo News by

BASILDON’S Sporting Village has attracted three and a half million visitors since it opened three years ago.

The £38million complex opened in April 2011 under controversial circumstances, but the number of visitors to the facility has risen year-byyear and exceeded expectations.

The number of people signing up to swimming and fitness classes at the centre has also risen since 2011, with the Olympic effect in Basildon showing no sign of slowing down.

Basildon Council is preparing to enter a profit-sharing arrangement with the centre’s operators, Everyone Active, so the taxpayer feels the benefit of the facility.

Greg Barsby, manager of the centre, said: “We have some top-class facilities at affordable prices.

“The Olympic effect helped and encouraged people back into sport and I think that shows in having 2,900 people sign up to swimming lessons.

“What has also helped, is the elite athletes we’ve had here. They have shown people what they can achieve.”

The complex has about 2,900 swimmers learning there, a 500-person increase from 2011 and up on the 850 from the old Gloucester Park pool.

The fitness suite at the centre, which offers a pay-as-yougo service, has more than 4,000 active members.

In the past year, the complex’s aerobics class has had 80,000 visitors.

The Sporting Village offers facilities including a 50m Olympic-standard pool, an athletics stadium, gymnastics hall, eight badminton courts, a 100-machine fitness suite, an indoor climbing wall and 17 outdoor football pitches.

The council had to raise £16million through land sales to pay to build the centre, with several patches of land being sold for housing in the borough – each one in controversial circumstances.

The Tory administration also came under fire for building the complex in Gloucester Park and selling more of the green space to developers.

Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure, said: “It’s a top-class facility at middle class prices.

“We expected a lull after the Olympics, but the numbers of people through the doors has exceeded our expectations.

“We’ve only had to build on a small part of Gloucester Park and that included removing a pool that was on its last legs.”

Comments (6)

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5:29pm Mon 5 May 14

shallotman says...

Nice if the bus service visited it. If you don't have a car, and wary of crossing cranes farm road.!
Nice if the bus service visited it. If you don't have a car, and wary of crossing cranes farm road.! shallotman
  • Score: 2

6:54pm Mon 5 May 14

Howard Cháse says...

shallotman wrote:
Nice if the bus service visited it. If you don't have a car, and wary of crossing cranes farm road.!
Bus stops along St. Nicholas Road and Upper Mayne. Can walk to the SV via subways under the roundabout and traffic light controlled pedestrian crossings on either road mentioned depending on which side of the road the bus stops.
[quote][p][bold]shallotman[/bold] wrote: Nice if the bus service visited it. If you don't have a car, and wary of crossing cranes farm road.![/p][/quote]Bus stops along St. Nicholas Road and Upper Mayne. Can walk to the SV via subways under the roundabout and traffic light controlled pedestrian crossings on either road mentioned depending on which side of the road the bus stops. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 0

7:23pm Mon 5 May 14

TheWizzard says...

We’ve only had to build on a small part of Gloucester Park and that included removing a pool that was on its last legs.”

The last survey carried out on the old pool was 2001 and as for last legs, bit like the tory group on the council
We’ve only had to build on a small part of Gloucester Park and that included removing a pool that was on its last legs.” The last survey carried out on the old pool was 2001 and as for last legs, bit like the tory group on the council TheWizzard
  • Score: 3

6:08pm Tue 6 May 14

ohnoitsohyeah says...

Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure, said: “It’s a top-class facility at middle class prices"

A tory being half honest for once. Anyone half awake knows who this facility is targeted at, they don't care about the working class of Basildon.
Top class? Never.
Kevin Blake, councillor responsible for leisure, said: “It’s a top-class facility at middle class prices" A tory being half honest for once. Anyone half awake knows who this facility is targeted at, they don't care about the working class of Basildon. Top class? Never. ohnoitsohyeah
  • Score: 1

6:05pm Thu 8 May 14

Devils Advocate says...

Great. A top class facility at middle class prices. Most of the residents around this are are traditional working class. Just about says it all.
Especially when you read the core strategy and see how much value this council put on Lake Meadows.
Great. A top class facility at middle class prices. Most of the residents around this are are traditional working class. Just about says it all. Especially when you read the core strategy and see how much value this council put on Lake Meadows. Devils Advocate
  • Score: 1

6:10pm Thu 8 May 14

Devils Advocate says...

Blakey says: “We’ve only had to build on a small part of Gloucester Park and that included removing a pool that was on its last legs.”

Does the small part include the around 50% of the Park that is now a housing estate? The swimming pool is being used by the whole Borough. What other green field outside of Laindon, Basildon and Pitsea were sold of to pay for this pools construction? Did the other half of the co-ownership put up the same amount of capital as the borough residents?
Blakey says: “We’ve only had to build on a small part of Gloucester Park and that included removing a pool that was on its last legs.” Does the small part include the around 50% of the Park that is now a housing estate? The swimming pool is being used by the whole Borough. What other green field outside of Laindon, Basildon and Pitsea were sold of to pay for this pools construction? Did the other half of the co-ownership put up the same amount of capital as the borough residents? Devils Advocate
  • Score: 1

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