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Blackbridge Community Sports Hub
Project Update June 2022

At the start of 2017, Active Gloucestershire were commissioned by the City Council to bring together key interested parties and explore the need for developing the Blackbridge fields.

Artists impression of what Blackbridge Community Sports Hub could look like

What is the Blackbridge Sports and Community Hub?

The project will see a range of sport, physical activity and community activities being provided by the development of indoor and outdoor facilities at Blackbridge Playing Fields in Podsmead, Gloucester.
This image shows the site plan, with vehicle access to the hub from Laburnum Road and various pedestrian routes.

The scheme is being made possible by the transfer of playing fields land by Gloucestershire County Council who will, in turn, develop around 30 houses with vehicle access from New Dawn View on the plot of land shown to the south east of the site.

What is the background to the project?

The idea of developing community sport and leisure facilities at Blackbridge has evolved over several years, gradually gaining strategic and financial support from a number of key stakeholders, including Gloucester City Council and Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucester City Homes, the local Clinical Commissioning Group, Sport England, Gloucestershire Football Association, Podsmead Big Local, the Integrated Care Service and Gloucester Athletic Club. More recently a large number of local sports clubs and community
organisations have lent their support to the scheme by committing to use of the facilities once they’re built.

What activities will I be able to take part in?

The list is almost endless! Outdoor areas will offer football, cricket and rugby, as well as walking and running routes and children’s play plus facilities to support Gloucester Athletics Club which is right next door. The ground floor of the Hub building will offer a 30 station fitness gym offering cardiovascular and resistance equipment as well as free weights and various gym-based fitness classes. Upstairs there will be a large studio space offering dance, yoga, Pilates and martial arts classes, and a flexible space to host social and cultural events, classes, meetings and training events. A bar and kitchen will offer healthy food and drink options throughout the day, making the Hub an ideal place for lunch or a leisurely coffee with friends.

Who is developing the Hub?

The development of the project has for a long time been led by people drawn from local sports clubs and community development charities. In 2021 the group decided to form the Blackbridge Charitable Community Benefit Society (Blackbridge Charitable CBS), which was established for the benefit of the community rather than solely for its members.

Being a charitable CBS has lots of benefits: local people can jointly own the organisation by buying shares (£1 each, minimum purchase of 5), which gives them membership and a vote in decisions about the project. Crucially, it also means funds can be raised through community share offers, social investment and from charitable trusts.

How is it going to be funded?

Currently it is estimated that the project will cost £4m to develop. £2.1m of this is already confirmed, around £1.3m agreed in principle and the project is working hard to secure the rest.

The project hopes to raise some of the funding from the community share offer, where members of the local community can put their money to work to develop the Hub, thereby keeping the asset safe for future generations and forever in community ownership.

What new facilities are being proposed?

The Hub will feature a full sized, floodlit artificial grass pitch and natural grass pitches for football, rugby and cricket, as well as a pavilion building which will feature four team changing rooms, a dance/exercise studio, health and fitness gym and social and meeting spaces.

Artists impression of what Blackbridge Community Sports Hub could look like
Artists impression of what Blackbridge Community Sports Hub could look like

How can I get involved in developing the scheme?

There are lots of ways to get involved but probably the key one is to become a member by buying community shares – information about how to get involved will be released soon. Also, if you have particular skills that you think would benefit the Blackbridge Charitable CBS, such as facility management, business finance, marketing, community engagement and so on, do get in touch using the details below.

How can I comment on the proposals and when will the Hub open?

The project hopes to submit an application for planning consent in September 2022 and are keen to hear your views. You can get in touch by email using the details given below. Gloucestershire County Council will be submitting a separate application for the housing development around the same time.

Once planning consent has been approved work could start in summer 2023 followed by a grand opening in spring 2024.

Who can I talk to for further information?

If you have any thoughts on the activities you would like to see on offer in the future the project team
would love to hear from you. Whether you’re an individual or part of a group, if you would like to host or
take part in your favourite activities at the hub do let us know.
Email Richard Fishlock at
richardfishlock@activegloucestershire.org
or give him a call on 01452 303528

 

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