£500,000 pool extension plans for exercise and dance studio

plans have been revealed for an extension at a West Yorkshire swimming pool to provide an exercise and dance studio costing an estimated £500,000 of public money.

Holmfirth Pool, which is operated by charitable trust Kirklees Active Leisure, is currently a pool-only facility with no “dry” exercise provision.

The building was refurbished in 2008, with works to the pool and changing facilities and a redevelopment of the reception area.

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The redesign allowed for the later addition of a fitness suite/exercise studio to be “bolted on” to the existing building.

Consideration is now being given to building the extension to cater for hundreds of people which Kirklees Council believes are potential customers.

A council report says that the new facilities would attract a “moderate” number of people from existing gyms.

An extensive market analysis of the area has been undertaken, which included research into other local gyms.

A report to be presented to Kirklees Council’s Cabinet committee, which is meeting next Tuesday, April 12, includes a break-down of the potential membership of the proposed new facility.

It says there are 4,041 potential health and fitness club members within a three-mile radius of the Holmfirth Pool.

There are 1,901 people who are members of competitor fitness facilities.

The estimated available market for the Holmfirth Pool has been put at 2,140.

The target for the Holmfirth Pool will be to pull in 750 members for the new facilities.

The report says: “The potential market for a fitness suite and dance studio to the existing site has been identified.

“This research suggests that a potential membership target of 750 members would represent a 35.6 per cent share of the available market within a three-mile radius. This figure would represent a moderate penetration into the existing local market.”

A survey of existing pool users found that 68 per cent would use a gym if one was provided at Holmfirth Pool. It found that 74 per cent of those surveyed did not currently use a gym.

As well as a fitness class programme, the proposed studio will be used for training courses, play schemes and will be available for hire by members of the local community.

To keep costs down, the council is proposing that the extension to the pool will be a “modular” building, basically a prefabricated construction which comes in sections.

To target 750 members, the council has estimated that they will need to provide a 30-station fitness studio of around 175 square metres and a studio of 100 square metres, as well as changing rooms.

The council has been assured that a prefabricated building will have a lifespan “well in excess of the 20-year capital payback period”.

The building will be a council asset but repairs and maintenance will be the responsibility of Kirklees Active Leisure.

The feasibility of a permanent building has been explored, which would have included two local sports clubs, but the costs involved made the project not viable. The report says that even if membership reaches 75 per cent of the target – “a very modest 562 members” – the development would still generate a surplus of £16,639 per year.

Council officers are recommending that councillors back the plans.

The report concludes that the financial analysis indicates that the proposals are “a relatively low risk”.

The project is on a tight timescale, according to the council.

Once Cabinet members have approved the plans, work will begin.

It is envisaged that the facilities will be open in September this year.