Green light for £12m national sports centre in Inverclyde
The project to deliver the UK’s first fully-inclusive residential sports training facility took a giant leap forward today as North Ayrshire Council granted planning permission for the £12 million centre.
The sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde has long been integral to the Scottish sporting system but the new development will raise the bar by providing state-of-the-art equipment, facilities, and accommodation under one roof.
Funded by the Scottish Government and sportscotland, the centre will be the first of its kind in the UK and will provide more opportunities for hosting national and international sporting events, particularly in para-sport. It will also continue the tradition of developing strong club and community, school, and education links throughout Scotland, the UK, and in the local area.
The design is the vision of architects Reiach and Hall, who also designed Aberdeen Sports Village and Oriam, Scotland’s sport performance centre, which is currently under construction at Heriot Watt University. All three projects have been part-funded by sportscotland to further improve Scotland’s sporting infrastructure.
Taking inspiration from the flow of a gymnast’s ribbon, the new design will seamlessly link the existing sports and gymnastics halls with world-class training facilities and an accommodation block providing 60 fully accessible twin rooms offering 120 bed spaces.
Morrison Construction has been awarded the contract to deliver the project and work will start on site at the beginning of January 2016, completing by the end of March 2017.
Sports minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The new National Centre Inverclyde will be a major addition to Scotland’s sporting landscape, providing state-of-the-art facilities under the same roof. It will be particularly beneficial to the para-sports community, and will be an ideal venue for national and even international events.”
Consultation on the design and build has been extensive with governing bodies of sport, clubs, and schools given the opportunity to have their say, while advice was taken from other sports facilities across the UK, including Bisham Abbey, to ensure the latest thinking was taken into account. Views of some of the country’s top physical preparation experts, including those working at the sportscotland institute of sport, were sought to ensure that the centre and the facilities within it are truly world class.
sportscotland is also working closely with North Ayrshire Council to explore further collaborative opportunities between the centre and the new schools campus planned for the adjacent site.
North Ayrshire Councillor Alan Hill, cabinet member for connected communities, said: “This is fantastic news and provides us with a further opportunity to develop our partnership with sportscotland.
“The new facility will cement Inverclyde’s status as one of Scotland’s top training and coaching bases. But this development will also be available for the local community and upholds the Council’s strategic priority to support people to stay safe, healthy and active.
“Our plans for the new Largs Campus are gathering pace and we’re hopeful that planning permission will be approved early next year.
“If successful, it means we will have two top-class and complementary facilities next to each other providing amazing opportunities for so many people for years to come.”
The centre will remain open throughout the build, offering sporting opportunities to the local community to complement the existing provision from North Ayrshire Council through their leisure trust.