Councillors have agreed to move forward with plans for a £68 million leisure centre and cultural hub in Farnborough town centre.

Rushmoor Borough Council’s cabinet, at its October 3 meeting, unanimously approved to prepare detailed designs for the development, so that a planning application can be submitted early next year.

The scheme is expected to open in early 2027.

The leisure centre will offer an eight-lane swimming pool, intermediate pool with moveable floor, six-court sports hall, fitness and spin studios, and soft play, together with a large café and space for performance.

The cultural hub will include space for an art gallery, digital lab, collaboration space and studios. Outside, there will be a new skate park and play area.

In addition, the development will include council and voluntary sector office space and could potentially include a new library for Hampshire County Council, at no cost to HCC, and associated community areas. This would free up the current civic offices for redevelopment as part of the wider Civic Quarter regeneration scheme.

Cllr Martin Tennant, deputy leader and cabinet member for major projects and property, said: “This is a fantastic milestone in the delivery of the new leisure centre and cultural hub for our residents.

“The cabinet is delighted to be driving forward the building and opening of the new development and we can’t wait to see it finished. The next stage will be the designs and planning consent and once these are in place, we can start building.”

Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Rob Humby said: “These proposals come at a time when all local authorities are having to look at ways to do things differently and work even more efficiently to achieve the best value for money for residents, within the resources available.

“In this context, it is sensible for us to consider all options for greater collaboration with partners. The potential for relocating the library within a purpose-built hub is one we are keen to explore and, if taken forward, would provide residents with a more modern facility, conveniently located near to other leisure amenities and fundamental local services.

“We look forward to considering the business case for such a move in further detail and working with colleagues at Rushmoor Borough Council in the process.”

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