10:57AM, Thursday 15 February 2018
Plans for a £32million leisure centre have been given the green light by Royal Borough councillors.
The scheme for Braywick Park is intended to replace the ageing Magnet Leisure Centre, in Holmanleaze, Maidenhead.
The application was submitted by the council itself, which hopes the new gym could be ready to open its doors by December 2019.
Speaking at last night's meeting of the Maidenhead Development Management Panel in support of the project, Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton Wick), cabinet member for culture and communities, said approval would provide ‘a leisure centre which will serve the community for many years’.
She added: “The current centre is over 40 years old and over that time has changed and adapted, but not efficiently.
“This opportunity will allow the council to invest in its residents.”
The meeting heard from four members of the public opposing the scheme on the basis of impact on traffic and the location of the new site.
It was also argued the new centre did not satisfy the ‘very special circumstances’ required to justify building on greenbelt land.
However, Cllr Rayner, who was not a voting member of the committee, claimed current usage levels at the Magnet Leisure Centre demonstrates the need and the demand for the new facility.
Cllr Adam Smith (Con, Riverside) accepted the application would lead to a ‘loss of openness’, on the site, but that this was outweighed by wider benefits it would bring.
All members of the panel voted in favour of the application bar Cllr MJ Saunders (Con, Bisham and Cookham), the Royal Borough’s cabinet member for finance, who had declared his intention to abstain on the item at the beginning of the meeting.
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