New Leisure Centre update: CBC say a new sports hall would be 'an over provision'

A plan to build a new £25million community and leisure centre in Houghton Regis is taking its next step.

Artist impression of the new leisure centre in Houghton Regis

Feedback from the recent consultation has helped them to refine the planning application which will now be submitted, providing another opportunity for people to comment on those detailed plans.

The consultation showed strong public support for this modern leisure and community centre and the improved facilities that will be provided. 179 people responded to the consultation survey and many more took the opportunity to take part in the engagement events.

70% of respondents agreed that the proposed centre will improve the leisure and community provision for residents in Houghton Regis. 20% of people disagreed, with 10% of respondents undecided.

The new facility includes an eight-lane 25 metre community swimming pool, which is more than double the size of the pool at the existing Houghton Regis Leisure Centre. There will be a dedicated learner pool with a movable floor to raise or lower the depth for swimming lessons and other activities and a separate splash pool. This is all part of an enhanced swimming experience.

Artist impression of the pool hall at the community and leisure centre in Houghton Regis


A large, state-of-the-art, fitness suite and flexible exercise studios will provide dedicated spaces for a range of different classes and community activities. Two squash courts will also feature in a great package of leisure facilities.

Plans include a cafe, community space, a creche, Changing Place provision to support people with disabilities, a children’s outdoor play area, and an outdoor fitness trail.

Cafe and foyer artist impression at the new community and leisure centre in Houghton Regis

Enhanced landscaping and planting will surround the centre, with improved walking and cycling routes across the Kingsland Campus linking to the new Houstone School and its provision of indoor and outdoor sports facilities, and the wider community.

Car parking, cycle parking and bus drop-off areas are all included in the plan designed to support the needs of a growing Houghton Regis community.

There was some feedback in the consultation about the plans around sports hall provision. CBC has carefully considered this feedback. Providing another new sports hall as part of the leisure centre so close to the neighbouring school sports hall would mean an over provision of such facilities resulting in both halls being underused.

A formal agreement with Houstone School will mean the local community can tap into the exceptional modern sports facilities being built there.

CBC is considering alternative provision for the small number of existing sports hall users that would be affected. CBC are confident they can find alternative provision to meet their requirements either inside the new leisure centre, at the new Houstone school or at the nearby Dunstable Centre.

Artist impression of the new leisure centre in Houghton Regis

The plan will now be subject to a planning consultation and will be considered by the Development Management Committee in July this year.

Cllr Tracey Stock, CBC Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing and Communities, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to build a fantastic new leisure and community facility for Houghton Regis. The much bigger, new centre will transform the leisure provision by offering superior facilities for residents.

“When you combine the new leisure centre with what is available at the school, it offers a comprehensive package of the very latest sports and leisure facilities.”

The plan will now be subject to a planning consultation and will be considered by the Development Management Committee in July this year.

Subject to planning approval, construction would start in winter 2022 and be complete in summer 2024. The existing Houghton Regis Leisure Centre would remain open throughout the works.

More information on the project that benefits from nearly £20 million of government Levelling Up Funding is available at: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/kingsland