Major new plans aim to deliver a healthy future for ageing leisure centre site: Fearnville 1

22 Dec 2023

Major new plans aim to deliver a healthy future for ageing leisure centre site

Leisure and sport

A popular but ageing leisure centre site could be transformed into a state-of-the-art sports and wellbeing hub under exciting plans announced by Leeds City Council today.

The council has had long-standing ambitions for Fearnville Leisure Centre in Gipton to be replaced with a facility that is fit for the 21st century.

This could soon become a reality, with good progress being made towards identifying funding for a scheme that would deliver a significant boost to communities facing sizeable social and economic challenges.

The council’s plans would see a new wellbeing centre being built on part of the King George V Playing Fields, a 28-acre green space that is home to the current Fearnville facility.

Indoor amenities would include a large main swimming pool, learner pool, sports hall, fitness studios, spin room and a 120-station gym as well as a community café and adventure play area.

Major improvements would also be made to Fearnville’s outdoor offer, with an all-weather pitch, tennis courts, skatepark and play zone among the proposed features.

Tree-planting and soft landscaping would increase the site’s biodiversity, with insects, birds and other wildlife giving people fresh opportunities to get in touch with nature.

The new-look centre would encourage more take-up of physical activity among residents in Gipton & Harehills and Killingbeck & Seacroft – densely-populated wards which suffer from low life expectancy and high obesity rates – as well as benefiting wider east Leeds.

Local demand for sports and leisure facilities is set to grow in the coming years, with thousands of new homes planned through the East Leeds Extension and related development sites.

Fearnville also offers essential learn-to-swim provision for more than 30 primary schools – part of the largest programme of its kind in the city.

An application for planning permission for the wellbeing scheme has been submitted by the council and, if approved, it is hoped that work could get under way in the middle of 2024.

The existing centre would remain open while the new facility takes shape on a part of the site that at present is occupied by a disused artificial football pitch. Then, once construction is complete, the current building – which dates back to the 1980s – would be demolished.

The bulk of the funding for the scheme is proposed to be sourced from a mix of external grant support, the council’s capital programme and developer contributions.

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, public health and active lifestyles, said:

“Improving the health and wellbeing of all our residents is one of the foundations of the council’s Best City Ambition – our vision for a Leeds that is compassionate and caring with a strong economy.

“To help us achieve this goal, we need to give people access to high-quality sports, fitness and leisure facilities of the type planned for Fearnville.

“The new centre will be a significant asset for Gipton & Harehills, Killingbeck & Seacroft and the wider east Leeds area, offering increased opportunities for physical activities while also fostering a greater sense of community inclusion and engagement among those who use it.

“We want to create something that is a real source of pride for people across east Leeds and has a positive impact on their health and wellbeing for many, many years to come.

“The council has made two unsuccessful bids to win support for a previous version of the Fearnville scheme from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, so I am pleased that we have been able to step in and move forward with the plans.”


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Leeds City Council Communications team