Mayor: ‘Leisure Centre plans are pie in the sky’

Meridian Leisure Centre, in Louth. Picture: Sarah Washbourn. EMN-191208-115458001
Meridian Leisure Centre, in Louth. Picture: Sarah Washbourn. EMN-191208-115458001

Calls for a multi-million pound leisure centre to be built in Horncastle are ‘pie in the sky’, says the town’s mayor.

The town council is looking to build a multi-purpose recreation ground off Prospect Street at a cost of around £250,000 (see story on page 3).

However, that has led to some residents suggesting the town deserves an entire new leisure complex.

But Mayor Fiona Martin said that, while she would love to see a new complex, it was unlikely to happen.

One of the residents calling for a leisure centre is John Fearon. He said: “I love the idea of increasing leisure resources for Horncastle and the surrounding area, but isn’t it about time we thought more to the growing town’s future needs?

“The last census in 2011 had Horncastle’s population at 6,815. I’d guess it was closer to 10,000 now and with another thousand households in the build stage. It won’t be long before we approach 15,000.

“Thanks to the strength of support for bowling, football and cricket, we do have some good, modern facilities in the Wong area but some town clubs and organisations still have to use old buildings such as Stanhope Hall and Cagthorpe School.

“Even Magna Vitae, constrained by the limited facilities at the pool and leisure centre, are having to resort to local schools in order to offer gym based activities.

“Isn’t it time to go large?

“The town deserves a modern, purpose built leisure facility that provides flexible areas to accommodate a range activities, from parkour to tai chi, table tennis to judo, weight lifting to rock-wall climbing, gymnastics to spin and zumba, five-a-side to rollerblading and basketball.

“A new aquatics complex, with training pool, diving area and variable depth main pool wouldn’t go amiss either.

“Top this off with adequate parking, meeting rooms, modern toilets, changing facilities, a sauna, a place to eat and chat and even a beauty salon.

“A road off Jubilee Way would make for easy access and would make it obvious to passing tourist traffic that Horncastle is somewhere to stop, not just pass by.

“Build it and they will come!”

Coun Martin said: “I would love to see a leisure centre in Horncastle. It would be wonderful but I’m afraid it is pie in the sky.

“It would cost millions of pounds and in this day and age there isn’t the funding available.

“Horncastle’s population is growing but there are bigger towns in the region that don’t even have a swimming pool.”

Horncastle’s own pool - run by Magna Vitae, is popular but is not large enough to accommodate officially recognised races.

The nearest facility is at the Meridian Centre in Louth.

Coun Martin added: “Louth is a much bigger place than Horncastle and when the Meridian was built, it was for the district as a whole.”

Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa is progressing plans for a £700,000 scheme to fully refurbish the outdoor swimming pool buildings and build a new health and fitness suite to secure its long-term future.

In Market Rasen, West Lindsey District Council recently started work on a new £6.3m leisure centre although that has sparked controversy among some residents because it does not include a swimming pool.