Kingsmead’s £10m revamp plans
‘We recognise the leisure centre has seen better days and that demand for the excellent range of classes and activities on offer far exceeds the space available’
A major refurbishment of the council-run Kingsmead Leisure Centre could cost more than £10 million, it has emerged.
Plans were unveiled this week to overhaul the sports facilities in Kingsmead Road, with two multi-million pound options on the table.
Both include a larger gym, an indoor children’s play centre, a refurbished cafe, new swimming pool changing rooms and 48 extra parking spaces.
Similar proposals stalled in 2014 following public opposition to plans to sell off large parts of Kingsmead Field for housing – money from which would have funded the refurbishment.
The city council will now borrow the cash to pay for the makeover, which could be complete by May 2020.
It says the work is much-needed because the facilities are rundown and have reached full capacity.
Speaking after the launch of a four-week public consultation on Monday, Cllr Neil Baker, who chairs the authority’s com- munity committee, welcomed the plans.
“We recognise the leisure centre has seen better days and that demand for the excellent range of classes and activities on offer far exceeds the space available,” he said.
“Now is definitely the time to be addressing these issues and we’re prepared to make the major investment the centre really needs.”
The cost of the first option tabled is £9 million and includes turning the centre’s main hall into a multi-sports and exercise space, as well as extending gym areas and building new fitness studios.
The second option – at £10.5 million – includes everything in the first but also a new sports hall on the first floor.
A decision on which to pursue will be made in April, with work scheduled to start later this year or at the start of 2019.
The release of the proposal comes just months after the council’s approval in principle for the centre’s operators, Active Life, to merge with Fusion lifestyle, one of the largest leisure trusts in the country.
Fusion will assist in part with the financing of the development.
Cllr Baker says service disruption will be kept to a minimum during any construction works.
“When various large- scale refurbishments such as this have occurred at other sites in the past, services have been disrupted and members have gone elsewhere,” he said.
“The Kingsmead redevelopment programme shall be conducted in stages so as to not hinder members’ access.”
To view the plans visit the leisure centre or log onto www.canterbury.gov.uk/consultations. Views should be submitted by Sunday, February 18.
Kingsmead Leisure Centre is to be refurbished