Spelthorne Borough Council received a total of 2,233 responses to the consultation it ran from 29 June - 23 July 2018 which sought feedback on plans to build a new leisure centre in Staines-upon-Thames.
1,872 questionnaires were submitted and a further 361 responses were received in the form of letters and emails. A total of 615 residents attended the drop-in events held at Spelthorne Leisure Centre on 29 and 30 June.
66 percent of respondents said that a new leisure centre was either 'very important' or 'somewhat important' to them, with support being highest from those who regularly take part in a leisure activity, particularly those using the Council's current facility.
Strong concern was expressed about the proposed location in Staines Park. 68% of those not in favour of a new leisure centre mentioned the location as a reason for their objection. Residents living close to the Park were less supportive of having a new leisure centre than those living further away.
In terms of the facilities residents would most like to see provided, a main swimming pool and parking facilities were cited as priorities, followed by a gym and learner pool. The least support was for all-weather pitches. When respondents were asked to rank non-core facilities, there was strong support for squash courts.
Almost half (44%) of respondents said they would like more facilities to be provided for children.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Harvey, said: "The results of the initial consultation have given us some invaluable insights regarding residents' preferences in terms of facilities and possible design styles. Concerns about the location have been heard loud and clear and Staines Park has been ruled out as a location for our new centre. Moreover, we recently announced that we have agreed to apply to have Staines Park protected through a Fields in Trust designation."
Cllr Maureen Attewell, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said: "This is a unique opportunity to build a modern leisure facility that serves the whole community and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their views. We look forward to progressing the project to the next stage."
The Council is working to identify a new location and expects to hold a further consultation in 2019.