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News | 24th September 2020
 

Centre design rethink after public response

And council calls for extra study after identifying flood risk

 
 
 

PLANS to redevelop the Townfoot sports centre in Langholm are moving ahead, with design changes being made after feedback from the public.

However, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning authority has revealed that the building in Glenesk Road is at risk from flooding.

The working group received a response to the pre-planning application from the council.

This raised concerns from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the council’s flood risk management team that the proposed redevelopment was in an area categorised as having a medium to high risk of flooding.

The council would not be able to support the redevelopment proposal as it currently stood because of the risk of flooding.

The report did conclude that the proposal could be considered if the flooding concerns were addressed with more information and assessments.

The working group will discuss these concerns with the design consultants.

Full details of the issues and potential solutions will be provided in the feasibility study report.

The SEPA report said there was surface water flooding at the Townfoot site in August 2012.

The group was told that the squash court lifted because of water but it has no further details.

If anyone remembers this event, they are asked to email       townfootsportscentre@gmail.com

It would appreciate any information which could help to understand the extent of the flooding.

Despite being unable to meet the community to discuss the developments, it intends to complete the feasibility report by the end of this month.

As soon as COVID-19 guidelines permit, the findings will be presented to the community and people will be asked for their feedback.

The initial design proposals were made public in July and, as a result of the comments received, suggested layout design changes were discussed with the design consultant.

Where possible, these design changes will be included in the updated drawings.

The group was asked why such a major development was being done when the Eskdale sports centre was superior and there was already space in abundance.

It replied that the intention was to have a health and fitness hub, which included a small social area where community users could gather and complement other venues in the town.

The feedback it had received from the community supported these objectives and it was not sure there was space in abundance nor ready access to expand the Eskdale sports centre.

Another person said a well-equipped gym was one of the main attractions but the design did not appear to reflect this.

The response said: “It is correct that the community survey highlighted a gym as a main attraction.

“Furthermore, the survey responses emphasised the gym would need to contain quality equipment and have flexible access times.

“We will review the layouts to try to ensure we meet the objectives.”

It also intended to try to separate the cardio and resistance training areas.

One comment highlighted the problem in Option 3 of people with outdoor shoes walking through the changing village, while swimmers had to walk through barefoot and this was not hygienic.

The group is reviewing the layout and discussing how to improve this arrangement with the architect.

There were also comments about having a changing village and whether Langholm was ready for this concept.

The group believes these comments are valid but its research indicates they are extensively used in modern centres and it is a more cost-efficient design.

However, it will not be a free for all. The village has the ability for segregation should there be, for example, multi-user or dedicated user groups and this detail will be incorporated at the detailed design stage.

People raised questions about the number of tennis courts and whether three would be too many.

The group said that when it had evaluated and fully understood the costs and potential for use, it would review this.

It added: “Each of the layouts was derived from the responses we received from the comprehensive survey held last year.

“Our intention is to take forward one of the three options to the detailed design stage and this will be primarily as a result of an options appraisal.

“We will undertake this with support from the design consultant.”

The group also considered having a small café but the research and guidance it received was that the overheads would be prohibitive at this stage of planning.

It proposed a social area with vending machines and an adjoining small room where food could be prepared for special or group events on an occasional basis.

 
 
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