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Case Studies

University of York

Feasibility Study - Development of new Community Sports Facilities


The University of York identified the need and opportunity to consider the provision of additional sports facilities as part of the development of the new campus.

At the time the City Council was also its future swimming pool provision, given the existing facility at the Barbican centre needed significant investment.

The aim of the study was to identify the location, mix, cost, and means of delivering the required sports facilities, and to identify the issues to be addressed in developing shared facility provision


Our initial focus was to establish the need for facilities to meet student need – recreational and curricular. We then looked at the needs of the City as a whole. This involved extensive stakeholder consultation across the University and City.

The outcome of the supply and demand analysis was the opportunity to develop a new swimming pool on the University’s second campus. This could provide for University use only, or be a partnership project between the City Council and the University.

We assessed each option and developed detailed revenue models to illustrate the capital and revenue impact of each, as well as the highlighting issues such as programming and access, given all the needs identified for swimming provision in the City.

The study identified both need and opportunity for investment and development; clearly the level and nature of investment in swimming had a political dimension which required significant discussion, as did the opportunity for investment in the University’s own provision.

Key Issues

  • A number of key local issues informed the facility development recommendations
  • The proposed expansion of the University, to accommodate increased student numbers
  • The inadequacy of existing sports facilities on campus
  • The desire of the University to provide enhanced pastoral facilities for new and existing students, and to increase scope and levels of provision for the local community
  • The commitment of the University Sports Union to provide improved competition and training facilities for University sport
  • The current level and quality of swimming provision in the local area
  • The potential for partnership with the Local Authority, and some other local organisations e.g. clubs, Civil Service Club
  • Other proposals for facility development in the City
  • Restricted availability of capital and revenue funding


  • An identified mix of community sports facilities, meeting identified local need, and serving the identified requirements of the University and students
  • Identification of the preferred location for new facility development, and recommendations as to the existing indoor and outdoor facilities on the campus
  • Identification of potential capital funding sources
  • Identification of capital costs for facility development, and the funding gap
  • Identification of five-year operational costs, and usage targets
  • Identification of the issues to be addressed in facility provision e.g. access, security, programming, repair and maintenance, pricing policy, to cater for both recreational, competitive and community use
  • Identification of potential commercial sector partners to help fund, deliver and operate the proposed facility development
  • Following the study, a new Sports Village was developed at the University on their new campus. This includes fitness facilities, a new sports hall, main and learner pool. The swimming pools are a joint investment between the City Council and the University, providing for both community and University use, through a formal usage agreement.