Guildford Spectrum

Guildford Spectrum is a leisure complex owned and managed by Guildford Borough Council. It was opened on 28 February 1993 at a cost of £28.154 million and built to take leisure provision in the Guildford area forward into the 21st century. The previous leisure centre was built in the 1970s and was really showing signs of decay, before being demolished and replaced with the Odeon Cinema and the Banisters Athletics track sold to Tesco Superstores. In addition, demand for leisure was increasing and space for customers was decreasing and the old facilities were draining council funds by the sum of around £300,000 per annum. The sale of these lands however meant that no money came from council reserves to build the facility.

Local authorities tend to find it difficult provide a wide range of leisure facilities to the public without making a loss, however the Spectrum therefore incorporates conventional facilities such as the competition pool, arena, squash courts and aerobics studio, with commercial facilities such as the bowling centre, ice rink, leisure pool and health and fitness suite as well as branded catering. This means that rather than being a burden on council expenditure, Guildford Spectrum is one of only a handful of local authority owned leisure facilities that make an operating surplus. This surplus is predominantly reinvested into the Complex so keep the facilities up-to-date and competitive in an ever evolving industry.

It is the home of ice hockey team the Guildford Flames and other sports clubs and used to host Guildford Heat home basketball matches. In addition to its large indoor sports arena it has an Olympic size ice rink, four swimming pools, a tenpin bowling centre, squash courts and football/athletics stadium (full list of facilities shown below). The stadium adjoining the complex is also home to Guildford City FC who play in the Southern Football League. The stadium has 135 seats under cover as well as having a standing capacity of around one thousand.

Guildford Spectrum is set on 26 acres of Council owned parkland in an easily accessible location just outside of the town centre. The facility holds free car parking space for 700 vehicles, has good public transport links and is situated just off the A3. Corporate image is not widely used by local authorities for leisure centres, but as Spectrum is marketed as a facility for local residents and as a tourist attraction alongside major events venue, its branding is essential.

“The name of the complex was decided through a competition within the borough and sums up the numerous facilities, activities and schemes on offer. The Spectrum flame was designed to incorporate parts of the Guildford Borough logo and to be completely unique. Inspiration came from the Olympic flame as the Olympics bring many people together for a variety of different activities, something Spectrum is also proud to do.”

List of Facilities
Four swimming pools, Olympic sized ice rink, tenpin bowling centre, indoor arena, aerobics studio, beauty therapy relaxation area, fitness suite, soft play area, squash courts, spinning room, crèche, Ice Station Zero (Laser Tag), American pool deck, all weather athletics track, four catering outlets, two licensed bars

James Martin