CHANGES

Kingsmead’s £10m re­vamp plans

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page - ken­[email protected]­m­group.co.uk by Sam Stolton @Ken­tishgazette

‘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.

FM2978917

Kingsmead Leisure Cen­tre is to be re­fur­bished

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