Backing for major new health and wellbeing hub in Wonford, Exeter

Proposals for a flagship health and wellbeing hub to replace the existing Wonford Sports and Community Centre in Exeter have been backed. 

City councillors last night (Tuesday) unanimously recommended supported officers creating an outline business case for the scheme.

It is set to include a new sports centre, an exercise space, community kitchen facilities, the relocation of the Wonford Green GP Practice,  and playing pitches.

The move will also see Wonford Village included in the Liveable Exeter Garden City Programme.

It would also result in improvements to the Wonford playing pitches utilising developers’ cash set aside for this purpose.

Councillor Ollie Pearson, portfolio holder for leisure and physical activity, told a meeting of Exeter City Council’s executive that the end result will be a focal point for the community of Wonford.

He added: “We are at an early stage in the process and will continue to engage with the community, and that means asking them what they want.”

Leader Cllr Phil Bialyk, added: “We are consulting with the local people and no decisions have been taken yet.”

Director Jo Yelland said in a report: “The aim is to co-design a facility that will be a positive focal point in the community and help to promote access to, and participation in, community based health and wellbeing activities and services provided at the site.

“Ideally the redevelopment will better connect with the green space behind the current building and better meet the needs of the local community.”

The new Health & Wellbeing Centre could include:

  • Re-provision of a sports hall, group exercise space and fitness, of at least four courts, and to be delivered as flexible spaces to allow different activities and classes to be delivered, including health related programmes;
  • A group exercise space and fitness, with 40 stations in a gym, as well as a studio and a spin studio;
  • A flexible community space to be available for hire to local groups and businesses, can also be used for health consultations and one to one sessions;
  • Community kitchen facilities – suitable for hire by community groups for sports and non-sporting activities, can be used to deliver health initiatives and programme;
  • Soft play provision for early year’s children which would be supported by the catering offer;
  • There is the opportunity to develop new recreational cycling activities and an all-ability cycling hub – to be developed further with the local community;
  • Retain existing and refresh (if required) Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) and reconfigure and enhance pitches and pavilion facilities for multi club use;
  • Virtual climbing and trampolining;
  • Interactive cardio exercises classes using the best of technology to provide alternative ways of using fitness equipment;
  • An outdoor adventure tower;
  • Primary care centre in partnership with the local NHS;
  • Flexible community spaces linking indoor and outdoor spaces to promote healthy, active lifestyles such as community kitchen, gardens, allotments, etc.
  • Potentially be part of a housing mix.

The report confirms the Wonford Green GP Practice partners’ desire and interest in potentially relocating from their existing premises to a new facility as part of an integrated health and wellbeing centre.

The next stage is the completion of a design brief by July 2020.

This stage will build on the ongoing community engagement with the development of ideas into indicative sketches, layouts, designs and building and running costs and further work with the Wonford Green surgery  and NHS England.

The council will progress the outline business case for a new health and wellbeing centre in Wonford to the design stage.

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