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Good sports in Westminster

08 October 2012

Willmott Dixon’s development division Regen is to partner with Westminster City Council in a land deal that will see the council gain a £17 million multi-use leisure facility at no cost to the taxpayer.

The deal, which has a gross development value of £60 million, will see sale receipts from 120 new homes developed by Regen on two sites fund the new sports centre. The council will also benefit from future uplift in sales values of the homes during construction as well as any surplus land value from both sites.

It’s the type of land arrangement that is set to become more widespread as councils look for innovative funding methods from private sector developer partners to unlock value and create funds for new facilities.

Under the proposal, the Jubilee and Moberly Sports and Leisure centres which are half a mile apart will be demolished and a new consolidated sports centre built at the Moberly site which will be larger than the two existing centres combined.

The new leisure facility at Moberly will have a 25 metre, six lane swimming pool, teaching pool, eight court sports hall, health and fitness facility, exercise studios, a health spa plus boxing and gymnastics halls. Also developed by Regen at the Moberly site on Kilburn Lane will be 80 homes, while a smaller community sports facility and a further 40 homes will go on the Jubilee site on Caird Street to fund the new leisure facility.

Andrew Telfer, CEO at Regen, said, “I am delighted to be working with Westminster City Council on this exciting and ground-breaking scheme. With both current leisure centres in need of modernisation, this solution provides a bigger, state-of-the-art property for the local community offering high quality sporting facilities for many generations to come along with much needed quality new homes.

“This is an excellent example of how Regen is able to work closely with the public sector to creatively fast-track, design, fund and deliver much needed community facilities through intelligent use of land assets in a difficult economic environment. It is not an exaggeration to say that elements of our model are unique to Regen. We’re ambitious to deliver similar schemes including working with public sector partners who are seeking to replace or modernise ageing public assets such as leisure facilities.”

Westminster councillor Steve Summers, deputy cabinet member for sport and the Olympics, said: “Few councils are in the position of being able to build multi-million new sports facilities in the current financial climate.

“But together with Willmott Dixon, we look forward to working on proposals which will create a £17m sports centre for residents of Queen’s Park together with a smaller sports facility at the Jubilee site. This will all be done at absolutely no cost to the taxpayer, so represents incredible value for money.

“We understand the concerns of the community regarding the loss of facilities at Jubilee and hope that the proposed new community sports hall – which has been prompted by feedback from local people - will go a long way to answer those concerns. We will continue to work with local people to ensure their views are taken on board as the proposals develop towards the planning stages.”

It comes just over a month after Regen was given the planning go-ahead to partner with Poplar Harca as joint developer for over 1,100 homes in east London.

Now that contracts have been exchanged between Regen and Westminster, Regen will work towards getting planning approval, which if gained will mean work to build the new Leisure Centre on the Moberly site and homes is targeted to begin in 2013. Westminster will procure Willmott Dixon as contractor for the leisure centre under the Scape framework.

The Jubilee leisure centre will remain open until the Moberly facility is complete and will then be replaced by housing, although numbers of homes built may change as the proposals are progressed through planning and viability stages.

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