Council green lights £840k plans for PRSA

The Princess Royal Sports Arena
The Princess Royal Sports Arena

Council bosses have given the go-ahead for plans to invest £840,000 in the Princess Royal Sports Arena.

At a meeting of the Cabinet last Wednesday, members approved recommendations to invest in the sporting facility as part of a £1.4 million overall spend on leisure facilities.

The money will be invested over a 10-year period in repairs and commercial avenues.

The other £560,000 will fund energy efficiency projects at the PRSA and the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre.

The authority has previously said such energy effiency measures will recover more than the entire cost of the cash used to bring the facility up to scratch.

The move will bring an end to the long-running saga of the PRSA - with hopes it will be leased out once the work is complete. This would make it a profitable venture for the council.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Peter Bedford said: “Hopefully we are in touching distance now of the end of a very rocky road in terms of the PRSA - going from a loss-making venture to hopefully a nice return for the council.”

Coun Stephen Woodliffe added: “We have got the whole thing under control now and I think it’s a mark of achievement as a council. We have now got a positive future for the PRSA.”

Coun Bedford added that the Cabinet had been ‘working hard to try and dispel some of the myths’ that the facility had been costly and rarely-used, noting that the facility continues to have more than 100,000 paid visits each year.

Speaking about the investment of more than £2 million by Boston College in the Peter Paine Sports Centre, and the subsequent increase in usage there since 2011, he added: “The college really should be congratulated on this.”

Councillors said usage of the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre (GMLC) had also increased.

The Cabinet heard how the facility had seen significant improvements in usage since the refurbished training pool re-opened in 2011.

The gym, also refurbished in 2011, is further said to regularly be at capacity in terms of usage.

Coun Derek Richmond said: “We have proven it was a mistake to close the training pool at the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre but we have made the right move with the PRSA now. I see no reason why the PRSA shouldn’t go the same way with the right people at the helm.”