Ards and North Down Borough Council

Feasibility Study


In December 2013 Max Associates undertook a feasibility study for Ards Borough Council for the re-provision of Ards Leisure Centre.


Summary of Project

Prior to developing the design specification, we reviewed current performance, market trends, demographics, competition and undertook consultation. We used this information to determine current and anticipated needs of a new facility including both key sports facilities and other more commercial activity that would drive overall usage and income and reduce the on-going subsidy required for the Centre.

The facility mix we proposed included; 25m pool and learner pool 6 court, sports hall, 100 station gym, multi-purpose meeting rooms, urban Gym (adventure play and gymnastics features that make traditional soft play more accessible and exciting to a wider audience), boutique 10 pin bowling, spa and health suite, catering and ancillary facilities. We worked with Pozzoni (Architects) to develop an innovative design that not only met demands for traditional facilities (swimming and sports hall) but also included indoor leisure entertainment facilities that would draw typical ‘non-users’ into the centre.

By adding more commercial activities the new facility is projected to achieve operational savings in excess of £400k per annum, whilst ensuring the capital costs remained within the budget. Having leisure facility management experience, we were able to ensure that the customer flow worked from an operational perspective, particularly through the reception and changing areas and that the sight lines of the key facilities maximised how these areas ‘sold’ themselves as customers entered the site and entrance of the centre. The final report documented and pulled together all the background research, analysis and financial implications.



The feasibility study was signed off in December 2013 by the Council, the recommendations were taken forward and a design and build team procured. Work began on the site of the Dairy Hall playing fields in Newtownards in early February 2017.  The existing leisure centre at William Street will remain in use until the new facility is ready. The Council is working towards a completion date before the end of 2018, weather and ground conditions permitting.


Client Testimonial

“I would highly recommend Max Associates, due to the technical knowledge, structured approach and, most importantly, their ability to successfully engage with a wide range of stakeholders and audiences – including elected members, officers, sports groups and statutory bodies. Mark and Lisa demonstrated excellent understanding of the political context and were able to provide a flexible approach to inspire confidence and deliver results. Their engagement was completed on time against challenging timescales, within budget and to a high level of quality. Mark and Lisa not only delivered clear, quality output – they also made the process an enjoyable experience. I would happily work with Max Associates again in the future.”
Andrew Scott, Head of Performance and Projects, Ards and North Down Borough Council


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