New leisure centre moves a step closer

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A new leisure centre and swimming pool for East Cambridgeshire has moved a step closer.

District councillors this week agreed the facilities that will be in the new leisure centre ensuring it meets the needs of residents in the years to come.

The option they approved will mean the new centre, which will be built in Downham Road in Ely will have an eight lane 25 metre pool, a learner pool, a health and fitness suite with 120 stations, two activity studios, a full-size 3G artificial grass pitch and a four court sports hall which will have scope for expansion.

Councillors have also been looking at how the new facility will be funded and have been investigating borrowing, the sale of council assets, use of future community infrastructure levy funds - a new levy that local authorities can charge on new developments in their area- and grant applications.

Cllr Richard Hobbs, chairman of the council’s commercial services committee, said: “Thursday’s meeting was a milestone for developing a new leisure centre for the district.

“We agreed to pursue a mix of facilities which would ensure a centre to meet the needs of residents both now and in the years to come. We could have lowered our sights and approved a less adventurous option but that would not have been right. It is our intention to deliver a modern, purpose-built facility to meets the needs of a growing district, anything else would have been a dereliction of duty.

“The next steps are to develop the plans to take into account the proposed cinema development and address the funding issues but fundamentally I believe we closer to delivering this project than we have ever been before. Our challenge is now to turn these concepts, reports and reach into a reality.”