Exciting proposals for Redlands head to Dorset Council committee

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A new report by Dorset Council officers outlines plans for Redlands Community Sports Hub in Weymouth and puts the long-term future of indoor facilities in the hands of user groups and the local community.

The report – to be reviewed by the Places and Resources Synthesis Committee next week before going to the office for approval – also features exciting plans for outdoor facilities at the site and how the finances around the proposals will work.

After Weymouth Collegedecision to return the lease, members and officers of Dorset Council listened carefully to the concerns of the Redlands community and worked with the college and Active Dorset to produce a plan that would improve outdoor facilities and give current users the opportunity to keep indoor facilities open.

Proposals are subject to successful application of multiple external grants.

Active DorsetThe landscaping offered by Redlands in Redlands to understand: –

  • A brand new community café, encouraging visitors to be more active in the outdoor environment
  • Build a new 3G synthetic turf pitch to meet demand
  • Renovation of the existing 3G location
  • Creation of a new hard surface loop for walking, jogging and cycling
  • Development of a “finishing course” and informal play areas
  • Soft landscaping and planting.

Indoor facilities would be handled differently. Active Dorset would introduce a ‘trusted key holder’ system where groups and clubs would take responsibility for the facilities during their time of use, setting up and taking down their own equipment and securing the building on the final departure.

All reservations and inquiries will be taken online, eliminating the need for on-site guest services. Reservations will generate a code that will allow users to access the building through a coded entry point.

Proposed plans would also see the conversion of underutilized squash courts into a modern multi-purpose studio and the creation of a new community cafe and children’s play area.

Dorset Council would be responsible for the insurance and maintenance of buildings, boundary fencing, car parks, access roads and any other constructed infrastructure. Weymouth Town Council has also pledged to provide £35,000 a year for the next two years to support keeping indoor facilities open.

While the new lease with Active Dorset is proposed for a period of 30 years, there is a break clause at 5 years which can be enacted if it turns out that the new provisions do not work.

Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council portfolio holder for culture, communities and customer services, said:

“As a local authority, it is our duty to balance the needs of our residents with responsible spending of public money.

We heard the public outcry when the interior facilities at Redlands were under threat of closure, so Dorset Council has worked closely with everyone involved to develop a plan that puts these facilities firmly in the hands of the people who use and love Redlands.

These proposalsif agreed by Cabinetrepresent a fantastic opportunity for the Redlands site edited by Active Dorset. Users can band together and encourage others to make the most of indoor facilities to secure their long-term future.

We will soon be reviewing all our leisure services in Dorset, and I hope Redlands is seen as an example of what can be achieved when local authorities and organizations work in partnership with the community to achieve a common goal.

The report will be going to the Dorset Council Venues and Resources Presentation Committee on Thursday July 28 at 10am. It is then examined and voted on by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, September 6, 2022..

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