The project to deliver the UK’s first fully-inclusive residential sports training facility took a giant leap forward this week, as North Ayrshire Council granted planning permission for the GBP£12m centre.
The sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde has long been integral to the Scottish sporting system but the new development will raise the bar by providing state-of-the-art equipment, facilities, and accommodation under one roof.
Funded by the Scottish Government and sportscotland, the centre will be the first of its kind in the UK and will provide more opportunities for hosting national and international sporting events, particularly in para-sport. It will also continue the tradition of developing strong club and community, school, and education links throughout Scotland, the UK, and in the local area.
The iconic design is the vision of award-winning architects Reaich and Hall, who also designed Aberdeen Sports Village and Oriam, Scotland’s sport performance centre, which is currently under construction at Heriot Watt University. All three projects have been part-funded by sportscotland to further improve Scotland’s sporting infrastructure.
Taking inspiration from the flow of a gymnast’s ribbon, the new design will seamlessly link the existing sports and gymnastics halls with world-class training facilities and an accommodation block providing 60 fully accessible twin rooms offering 120 bed spaces.
Morrison Construction, one of Scotland’s leading construction firms, has been awarded the contract to deliver the project and work will start on site at the beginning of January 2016, completing by the end of March 2017.
Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn said:
The new National Centre Inverclyde will be a major addition to Scotland’s sporting landscape, providing state-of-the-art facilities under the same roof. It will be particularly beneficial to the para-sports community, and will be an ideal venue for national and even international events.
With Oriam, the new national performance centre, also under construction in Edinburgh, this is an exciting time for Scottish sport.
Consultation on the design and build has been extensive with governing bodies of sport, clubs, and schools given the opportunity to have their say, while advice was taken from other sports facilities across the UK, including Bisham Abbey, to ensure the latest thinking was taken into account. Views of some of the country’s top physical preparation experts, including those working at the sportscotland institute of sport, were sought to ensure that the centre and the facilities within it are truly world class.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, welcomed the decision:
This is excellent news for sport in Scotland. Facilities across the nation have never been as good as they are now and with the fantastic development of our National Centre Inverclyde we have the opportunity to raise the bar even higher.
Our mission is to work in collaboration with our partners to build a world-class system for everyone in Scotland and Inverclyde has a huge role to play in delivering that objective. It will be a unique and inspiring environment reflecting the personal ambition and aspiration of everyone who uses it from Paralympians to members of the local community who want to make sport a part of their daily lives.
sportscotland is working closely with North Ayrshire Council to explore further collaborative opportunities between the centre and the new schools campus planned for the adjacent site.
North Ayrshire Councillor Alan Hill, Cabinet Member for Connected Communities, said:
This is fantastic news and provides us with a further opportunity to develop our partnership with sportscotland.
The new facility will cement Inverclyde’s status as one of Scotland’s top training and coaching bases. But this development will also be available for the local community and upholds the Council’s strategic priority to support people to stay safe, healthy and active.
Our plans for the new Largs Campus are gathering pace and we’re hopeful that planning permission will be approved early next year.
If successful, it means we will have two top-class and complementary facilities next to each other providing amazing opportunities for so many people for years to come.
The centre will remain open throughout the build, offering sporting opportunities to the local community to complement the existing provision from North Ayrshire Council through their leisure trust.
On completion, the sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde facilities will include:
- an international standard gymnastics training facility
- indoor 3G pitch
- main sports hall
- multi-purpose sports hall
- new physical preparation centre
- dance studio
- fitness suite
- five full-sized grass football pitches
- synthetic hockey pitch
- four synthetic tennis courts
- golf development course and target range
- trail paths
Accommodation and catering:
- 60 fully inclusive twin bedrooms with en-suite wetrooms
- dining / conferencing area – to serve 200 covers
- multi-purpose education areas
- café / bar and informal social / meeting areas
- meeting rooms
Image: The Reaich and Hall-designed facility is expected to open in March 2017. Photo: sportscotland.