Arc budget target paves way for playground

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AS Derbyshire Dales District Council announced the building of its landmark Arc Leisure Matlock came in on budget, it was announced that playground equipment removed during the building of the successful project is to be reinstated on the site at a cost of £20,000.

Published this week, the final account for Arc Leisure Matlock, which opened to the public in August last year, reveals costs to date are less than the original budget of £11,988,000 and are also below a revised target of £11,772,000.

Attendances at Arc – named the Most Innovative Building Development in last year’s Derbyshire Times Business Awards – are nearing the quarter of a million mark and continue to be massively up on the former Matlock Lido facility it replaces.

Deputy leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Cllr Geoff Stevens MBE, who chaired the Arc project sub-committee, said: “It was always a priority to replace the equipment on the playground above Arc if finances allowed and I’m absolutely delighted that this is now possible.

“There are other tweaks we want to make to Arc itself, including improved lighting in the car parks, a revised parking lay-out and an automatic swipe card facility to reduce queuing for members.

“We’re happy these improvements can also be made within our revised budget estimates, which took account of the withdrawal of some grant funding, significantly a £163,000 free swimming grant.”

Cllr Stevens added: “For a project of this magnitude – the biggest single development ever undertaken by Derbyshire Dales District Council – to come in on time and on budget is a remarkable achievement. We continue to receive positive feedback from users, which is really important, and Arc Leisure Matlock has made a mark on the Derbyshire Dales and beyond much sooner than even its most ardent supporters imagined.

“The District Council has met its aspiration of a value-for-money landmark development that improves the life of the people of the Derbyshire Dales. From the opening day back in August last year and the official opening by Sebastian Coe KBE, Arc Leisure Matlock has been a success story - and long may that continue.”

Arc was funded by the District Council, with financial support from the East Midlands Development Agency, Sport England through the National Lottery, the Matlock and Area Sports and Recreation Group (MARS) and the Amateur Swimming Association.

The final account report will be considered by the District Council’s Community and Environment Committee this Thursday, April 19.

Compared with the former Lido facility, 100 more youngsters take part in Learn to Swim programmes and 40 local clubs book in on a regular basis. Arc hosted the Derbyshire Regional Swimming Championships last month and Derbyshire’s elite swim squad Derventio Excel use the main pool as a training base early on Saturday mornings.

The exciting scheme, on a reclaimed site between Matlock and Darley Dale, was an award winner even in development, being named the Most Sustainable Remediation Project at the Brownfield Briefing Remediation Innovation Awards.

The development incorporates significant green technology to minimise the new building’s carbon footprint. These include solar panels, rainwater recovery and Combined Heating and Power (CHP).