Arena – a story as long as ‘The Archers’?

Almost exactly two years ago, we wrote the following text, which consists of quotations from borough council documents.  (We’ve added some minor details since then.)  So it’s time for a update – which we’ve provided at the end.


2006 borough council Corporate Plan, key priority: “Develop a replacement strategy for the Arena within the Camberley area by April 2008”.

April 2008: “At a meeting of the council’s executive last month, members considered a report that recommended the funding of a feasibility study into options available to the council for the future use of the civic area east of Knoll Road, in addition to delivering a replacement for the Arena Leisure Centre.”

End 2011: “A taskforce is to be assembled to look at all options for the future of the Arena Leisure Centre when the current contract runs out [in 2016]”

July 2014: “Options for the future of this facility are being investigated with an opportunity to redevelop the site into a state-of-the-art leisure centre, currently being explored. Surrey Heath Borough Council Executive will consider investment options to refurbish or redevelop the facility.”

Dec 2014 : “Strategic Objective: Renew the leisure centre.”


Minutes of Dec 2016 SHBC Executive Committee meeting:  “The Executive considered a report outlining a proposed process for the replacement of the Arena Leisure Centre and seeking approval for funding the process. The current Arena contract had been extended in March 2016 for a further three years and was therefore due to expire in March 2019.
“Members were informed that Condition Surveys undertaken by Hampshire County Council in 2012 had identified a need for £1.1m of structural, mechanical and engineering services work to be undertaken over the next ten years to maintain the Arena’s existing service offer. Mechanical plant was likely to need replacing in five years at an estimated cost of approximately £500,000.”

If the Eye is still alive, we’ll provide a further update in a couple of years or so.  We wonder what it will say….





12 thoughts on “Arena – a story as long as ‘The Archers’?

  1. You’re going to hate me saying this but I think the Arena is really good. The gym has recently had a big refurb and the monthly price of £22 for monthly membership of a well equipped gym is excellent.
    Can’t comment on the pool and I understand that may not be as good but from a gym perspective I think the council and their outsourcer should be congratulated.

      • I fully agree. Today’s item about Arena doesn’t say anything one way or the other about the facilities simply because I use the gym too infrequently to be able to comment.

    • Of course I’m not going to hate you for saying it, Cath! But if you read the item again, you’ll see that I don’t comment on the facilities of Arena one way or the other. I only use the gym infrequently, so I’m not qualified to pass any judgement, though I know many users would agree with you. However, the item – which consists largely of quotations of what the council has written – shows that the council has dithered for a decade over the future of the building – its fabric and location. In the overall order of things, this might not matter very much. But the council has now borrowed arount £150 million for various projects around the town, almost certainly with more to come. If it can’t come to a decision about Arena in less than a decade, what hope is there for these larger schemes?

  2. The Council seem to be keener on spending millions on buying property rather than upgrading current infrastructure such as the Arena.

    • Although there are good reasons why councils now have to invest for income, Jean, I’m concerned that it may be becoming a fashion. A sort-of ‘Don’t blame us, we’re only doing what other council’s are doing’, situation.

    • Well, not really, Speedicus. The ad is for a consultant to advise on – it would appear – several options. New Arena, reburbished Arena, or, as far as I can make out, a dispersed ‘Arena’.

      • True, but as near as you’re gonna get !

        Design in the broadest sense, before detailed blueprints …

        Quotes are invited from professional consultancy services that will advise on the future provision of a new leisure facility for Surrey Heath.

        The services required will be across two key stages and will involve the development of a procurement strategy and business case together with associated documents for the resulting procurement process.

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