Will the existing Eastwood Park Leisure Centre/Theatre etc facilities be accessible while the new building is built?

A key component of the brief is to enable as much of the existing Leisure Centre and Theatre to remain open for the duration of construction of the new facilities. It is the intention that once the new building is constructed careful demolition of the existing will commence, to limit the adverse impact on use of the new building.

What is wrong with the current facilities? Why do they need to be replaced?

There has been a need for a new leisure centre and theatre for a number of years as the existing facilities have been aging, with their use extending beyond their design life. This has resulted in regular closures for maintenance interrupting the provision of facilities and resulting in decline of membership critical to the viability of facilities. It is also inefficient from an energy perspective making it expensive to operate and facilities are not of a quality that many residents aspire to. Alongside this, the facilities do not meet the demands of the local community such as sufficient swimming capacity, gym size or space for fitness classes.

How much will the new leisure centre cost?

As was outlined in a report to the full council on 25 February 2021, the basic construction costs for the new leisure centre and theatre and demolition of the existing facilities are estimated to be £47.5m.The overall development cost, including all professional fees, fixtures and fittings and associated external works, is estimated to be £55m. The project has been benchmarked against other schemes of a similar nature including the Allander Centre in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, which is currently under construction for a total cost of £42.5m. As was also noted in the February report, the Eastwood Park scheme has a wider range of functions including; a library, café, theatre (including studio and bar); gymnastics zone, 50m pool and arrival plaza. Construction of the Eastwood facility will also involve a quality of materials and architecture appropriate to a park and the setting next to a listed building.

Why is East Renfrewshire Council spending this money when other issues could be addressed?

Culture and Leisure are critical components of any Local Authority's provision and are arguably as important as Education, Healthcare, Housing, Public Transport, etc. The challenge however is maintaining the balance of priorities for all local residents. East Renfrewshire has an excellent Education provision, for example, but it is fair to say that the Culture and Leisure offer is not to the same standard and does not have the same reach. With the existing Eastwood Leisure Centre and Theatre having reached the end of its intended lifespan, there is now a once in a generation opportunity to reinvigorate and improve the Culture and Leisure experience for the whole area.

Will I be able to access Eastwood Park during construction of the new building?

Yes. Construction will be carefully managed by an experienced contractor and consultant team. We will seek to appoint a contractor who is a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme and who will be well-versed in managing complex sites with difficult logistics and with neighbours with competing access requirements. Key to allowing continued access to the park throughout, including maintaining access to all the other buildings located within, will be creating safe dedicated delivery routes and set delivery times. The Council has a track record of delivering tandem build projects, such as the recent construction of the new Glenwood Family Centre in Eastwood Park and the new Barrhead High School.

Are the allotments going to be removed as part of this process?

There are no proposals for the allotments within this specific project and planning application. The consultant team have carried out a separate high-level visioning exercise that looks at a number of potential future masterplan scenarios for the full Eastwood Park site, which included the allotments. However, none of this is being taken forward at present.

Why are you building in the park and not on another site?

The options for addressing the challenges of the Culture & Leisure offer within the local area and an aging building portfolio have been under consideration for many years. In 2014, a key stage was a detailed assessment of the existing facilities and whether upgrading may be appropriate. In 2016, following further assessment and outline business case development, it was agreed that a new leisure centre would be the most appropriate solution. Having established this, there was an exercise to identify other potential sites for a new leisure centre. A sites appraisal study was submitted to councillors in 2018. From this a requirement to consider Eastwood Park in more detail was confirmed and the other potential sites were ruled out.

Will the sports facilities of my club/organisation be retained in the new building?

In 2018 we undertook a major review of our Sports Strategies. This challenged us to undertake an extensive full consultation with our local clubs, customers and partners /stakeholders.  The recommendations and findings of this helped inform where our capacity and service gaps were. These have helped develop our response to the requirements of this new site, especially in areas which could not be delivered in the constraints of the existing site (i.e. daytime access to sports halls in the Eastwood side for one example). Whilst individual programming and access arrangements are not able to be committed to at this point, a central aim of the project is to create an expanded centre with more capacity for both existing and new individual customers, groups and partners.

How long will construction last?

Construction of the new building is anticipated to take two years. Some separate preparatory works may be required prior to this, which are envisaged as lasting a few months.

How will my answers and responses as part of this consultation impact the final designs?

The project team will consider all answers and responses received as part of this consultation and these will help to inform the proposals as they are finalised ahead of the planning application being submitted to East Renfrewshire Council.  The submitted planning application will be supported by a Pre-Application Consultation Report which will document the outcomes from this consultation and how the feedback received has shaped the proposals. Although any comments made to this consultation process may form part of a future planning application submission document, they will not be considered by East Renfrewshire Council as a formal representation to any future planning application. All members of the public and local stakeholders will have the opportunity to make formal representation once a planning application has been submitted.

Will there be sufficient car parking to accommodate visitors and users of the new building?

A specialist Transport Consultant is a member of the design team and is carefully analysing the impact to traffic and parking numbers. This is feeding into our design proposals and we believe some of the existing parking on the site, which has been created in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, can be rationalised and improved to provide the additional numbers required.

Do East Renfrewshire Council plan to close any existing services as part of this project?

This project was born out of the need to replace the existing centre which is almost 50 years old. It is a substantial investment in culture and leisure in the region, and will enable a significant expansion of culture and leisure services for both local residents and visitors to the region. There are no plans to close any facilities other than the current old Eastwood Park Leisure Centre. The Council will continue to work with it partners to ensure it has the right mix of buildings, services and facilities, and constantly reviews these in the light of resources and the Councils agreed priorities.

What is the size of the greenspace being lost as part of this new building?

The net loss of area to the park when purely analysing the proposed footprint versus existing is 3549m2. However when considering our full landscape proposals and rationalising and improving existing parking and hard-standing areas there is a net gain of 2561m2 of park and civic space.

How does this new building impact Eastwood House? Has the heritage of this building been considered?

The consultant team are all experienced in working on and in close proximity to listed buildings. Stallan-Brand are Conservation Accredited and have carried out a heritage impact assessment as part of their natural design process. The full consultant team are confident that the proposals will enhance the setting of Eastwood House, with the new building and landscape proposals positively framing the house and defining the parkland immediately in front of it and acting as a screening device between the ad hoc development of the rest of the park, including the nearby floodlit football pitch.

What is the size of various facilities included in the proposals?

The building currently includes:

  • 50m x 6 lane Swimming Pool with approx. 200 person spectator zone and relaxation area
  • 20m x 7m Training Pool
  • Family Fun Pool and Flume
  • Wet Changing Village
  • 6 Court Games Hall
  • Dry Changing Village
  • Cafe with associated Kitchen & Servery
  • Community Library
  • 140 station Fitness Suite
  • 4no. flexible Fitness Studios, supporting uses ranging from spin classes, to yoga, to cross-fit, to Gymnastics.
  • 320-400 seat Theatre
  • Approx. 100 seat Studio Theatre
  • Theatre Bar
  • Shared office space
  • Ancillary support spaces

How will development impact St. Ninian's School? Will the school remain open during building works?

The school will remain open during the works. A contractor with a proven track record of managing complex site logistics including considering neighbouring buildings' access requirements and their daily and seasonal use hours will be required. Regular dialogue will be maintained with the school throughout to manage any arising issues.

Why is East Renfrewshire Council spending money in Giffnock when other communities need facilities?

The new Eastwood Leisure Centre, Theatre and Library will benefit all East Renfrewshire residents, not just those who live in the immediate vicinity. An active travel plan is being developed in tandem with the transport assessment to ensure the catchment area for the new facilities is as wide as possible. The facilities at Eastwood Leisure are more than 40 years old and need updated to meet the future needs of the area.

Will there be any impact on the existing parking provision during the construction of the new leisure centre ?

Yes, there is likely to be some impact on the existing parking provision during the construction of the new building and the associated landscape and parking improvements. We will seek expert advice on how best to phase and manage the construction to mitigate the adverse impact.

Are there proposals for the existing Giffnock library site ?

There are no new plans for the existing Giffnock Library as part of this project. The inclusion of a library space in the centre reflects established best practice in culture and leisure service design from the last two decades. Indeed experience from the award winning Barrhead Foundry perfectly illustrated how co-locating Library and Leisure facilities can double existing visitor numbers; encourage people to expand the number of activities they participate in on a visit; and thereby increase engagement with all services.

Will there be a requirement for changes to be made to the Rouken Glen Road access and/or the traffic lights there ?

This is being considered at present through the Transport Assessment and general landscape and civil engineering designs; there is not a definitive answer at the moment but it is being properly evaluated.