Tor Leisure Centre in Glastonbury to get £1.87million upgrade
By Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
19th May 2022 | Local News
Nearly £2m will be spent as a "once-in-a-generation investment" in bringing a Glastonbury leisure centre up to scratch.
Fusion Leisure operates the Tor Sports and Leisure Centre on the A361 Street Road in Glastonbury as part of a 50-year lease agreement with Mendip District Council.
The facility was identified as one of 12 projects within the £23.6m Glastonbury town deal, with the intention being to bring different local clubs together to create a truly "multi-sports venue".
Fusion Leisure and the council have now confirmed up to £1.87m of the town deal funding will be spent on the facility, with the final business case being submitted to the government at the end of June.
Fusion Leisure business manager Rob Taylor laid out details of the project during a presentation to the council's scrutiny board in Shepton Mallet on Tuesday evening (May 17).
Under the proposal, the existing pavilion within the site will be demolished and replaced with a "bespoke sports and leisure hub building", providing a new home for multiple sports, including field hockey, tennis and netball.
A new all-weather pitch, tiered seating and changing rooms will be delivered, allowing Glastonbury Town Football Club to relocate from their current home on Godney Road (not far from a planned development of 90 new homes).
In addition, a new all-year-round bowling green will be provided for Wyrral Park Bowls Club, enabling them to expand their membership.
Mr Taylor told the committee: "The £1.87m will see a partial refurbishment of the existing building and a partial new build.
"We've been hit by increased construction costs and all the challenges which that throws up. We've got multiple stakeholders on site, we've got lots of litigation to walk through – but actually what we're going to create at the end of it is a fantastic building that will draw people back to Glastonbury and provide a great facility for people to use.
"It's a once-in-a-generation investment and it brings up the leisure stock in all of the Mendip towns to the standard that they should be."
Councillor Alison Barkshire – who represents numerous villages between Frome and Radstock – questioned whether the project would be sufficiently environmentally friendly.
She said: "As far as I've seen from the information we've had, there is absolutely no planning to do any solar panels either on the roofs of your buildings or in your large car parks, which would lend themselves very well to solar car ports.
"I wonder whether you're not doing it because you're not thinking about it or because you haven't got the capital?
"I really think, given the price of energy is soaring, that it would be in all our interests if we could do something."
Ian Munday, the council's asset transformation officer, responded: "We have been talking with Fusion about the decarbonisation schemes. They are getting pressure from clients all over the country.
"They're just having a change in personnel, and when the new person starts in June we're scheduled to sit down with them and work through how we can access the decarbonisation scheme, which we will have to apply for.
"Part of the Tor Leisure refurbishment and rebuild will include the latest technology, including solar panels."
Councils can apply for grants from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to make their buildings – including leisure centres – greener under the public sector decarbonisation scheme (PSDS).
South Somerset District Council's district executive committee voted on May 12 to allocate a further £1.6m of funding towards efforts to decarbonise its facilities in Wincanton and Yeovil on top of more than £3m in BEIS grants.
In addition to the Glastonbury site, Fusion operates four other leisure facilities under its agreement with the council – Frome Leisure Centre, the Shepton Mallet Lido, Strode Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre in Street, and the Wells Leisure Centre.
Councillor Chris Inchley, who chairs the scrutiny board, asked whether further investment in the lido would be forthcoming in the near future.
He said: "There is an opportunity to expand there – there is a green area behind it and the car park is probably under-utilised most of the time."
Mr Taylor replied: "After the pandemic, I think we're concentrating on our recovery for the first two years and then we'll start getting to that capital development.
"Shepton Mallet Lido is firmly on our list, and Fusion loves a lido – you look at the lidos that Fusion run, and they really like to develop them with further services to take it beyond a summer season and get an all-round service running."