More than 400 people have responded to a recent survey asking Stevenage residents what they would like to see from the proposed new Sports and Leisure Centre.

The centre will combine the sports and swimming facilities that are currently provided at two different sites - the Arts and Leisure Centre and the Swimming Centre. It will also become home to the services currently offered at the Bowes Lyon Youth Centre.

Documents submitted in 2022 as part of the business case for the new centre suggest that it could include swimming pools, a gym, sports hall, squash courts, a soft play area, a sauna and a café, which would be accessible from the Town Centre Gardens.

Most respondents told SBC that a modern building with sports, wellbeing and swimming under one roof would encourage them to use the facilities. They would like it to be in an accessible location with safe access for pedestrians, with adequate parking, including blue badge spaces, alongside cycle parking and cycle storage.

Respondents also said they would like improved changing facilities, a café, space for groups and classes catering for people of all ages and abilities, and space for indoor sports and leisure.

Considering the swimming pool in particular, there were calls for enough space to cater for lane swimming alongside lessons and swimming clubs, with deep water, interactive water play, and a spectator area. Some also asked for a spa, and provision for mental health and mindfulness activities.

A council spokesperson said that the feedback will help them "begin to shape a new state of the art building for Stevenage, promoting healthy living and wellbeing for residents".

The Comet: Residents have been giving their views on the proposed new Sports and Leisure Centre for Stevenage.Residents have been giving their views on the proposed new Sports and Leisure Centre for Stevenage. (Image: Stevenage Borough Council)

They continued: "We will now work with a design team on the next stages and will share further information in due course, including around the future opportunities for the community to comment."

Morgan Sindall Construction, which has extensive experience of building leisure facilities, has been appointed to help build the centre, which will be managed by Everyone Active.

The project is expected to cost £44.2m, with £10m of that coming through the government's Towns Fund. Money from the fund must be used by the end of March 2026.

The business case included plans for the facility to be built on the site currently occupied by the Swimming Centre and Bowes Lyon Youth Centre. It estimated that construction would be completed during 2025 or 2026.

Under those plans, the centre itself would be located largely on the site currently occupied by the Bowes Lyon Youth Centre, and spread over a small section of the Town Centre Gardens.

Cllr Richard Henry, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, commented: “My thanks go to everyone who completed our recent survey. Feedback is invaluable as we work with our communities on this proposed new facility and continue to deliver the best for Stevenage.


"We know how well-used the current facilities are and this new building will increase the user experience, future proofing these services for increased usage and modern living.

"Our teams are working hard to meet as many of your needs as possible, and we look forward to providing an update in due course”.

Adrian Hawkins OBE, chair of the Stevenage Development Board, commented: “We have been delighted that more than 400 people have taken the time and the trouble to take part in our recent survey which centred on providing a new Sports and Leisure Centre for Stevenage.

“The insight gained has of course proved invaluable, but just as importantly it has shown that the people of this town view our regeneration scheme as a key part not just of their futures but that of their children’s as well.

“The remarkable technology sector and our advances in STEM can only come to fruition If we are also able to underpin and develop our sporting heritage.

"Stevenage has become world famous for sporting men and women who have triumphed on the biggest stages and our commitment to a new Sports and Leisure facility shows that we take seriously all aspects of this development.”

Cllr Loraine Rossati, executive member for culture, leisure and information technology at SBC, said: “We have a vision for this new facility for the town, and we are committed to working with our communities to realise this.

"Collaboration is key, both with our residents and project partners, and I would also like to thank Everyone Active and Morgan Sindall as we work together to provide the best in class.

"We won’t be able to deliver everything, but by understanding what is most important to you, we can further explore the art of the possible and sharing the next stages of this proposal.

"There will be further opportunities to comment and we encourage everyone to have their say at the next available opportunity.”

Allan Prescott, Everyone Active contract manager, said: "We're thrilled to see such positive feedback from the local community regarding the proposed new Sports & Leisure Centre for Stevenage.

"These headline findings reflect a clear desire for modern, accessible facilities that cater to the diverse needs of our residents.

"We’re excited about the potential of this state-of-the-art building to promote healthy living and wellbeing for all, and we look forward to working closely with Stevenage Borough Council to bring this vision to life."