£11m leisure plan

AN £11millin leisure village culd be built n 15 acres f land clse t Ely city centre as early as 2010. The new centre wuld have an eight-lane cmpetitin swimming pl, six curt sprts hall and 100 health and fitness statins. It culd be built n

AN £11millin leisure village culd be built n 15 acres f land clse t Ely city centre as early as 2010.

The new centre wuld have an eight-lane cmpetitin swimming pl, six curt sprts hall and 100 health and fitness statins.

It culd be built n farmland clse t the rugby and ftball clubs in Dwnham Rad and culd be served by a cycle and ftbridge.

East Cambridgeshire District Cuncil has bught the land, part f which is still let fr grazing.


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Cuncil fficers wuld wrk with the private sectr t raise the mney t build and run the pl but detailed plans are still n the drawing bard.

Cmmercial sprts culd als be ffered n the site and there is a chance that, in the future, a multi-screen cinema culd be built.

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District cuncil chief executive Jhn Hill said: "We are wrking n a reprt, t be published n May 15, which lks at hw the leisure village wuld be funded and hw it wuld be run.

"We wn't knw hw much the private sectr culd put in until we g ut t the market. There wuld be sme need fr public mney, whether t build r perate the centre r a bit f bth.

"This site is the preferred site in the Ely Master Plan and it ffers a gd pprtunity t wrk with the rugby and ftball clubs.

"The current cntract n Ely's Paradise Pl runs ut in 2010 and, if it all stacks up financially and in management terms, we culd see a new leisure village by late 2010.

But we might need t extend the current pl cntract because we dn't want t have a situatin where there is n swimming pl available.

"It is a mix f all things. We need t lk at where we spend the existing mney - we give subsidies t the pl."

He added that the cuncil is nt making cmmitments at this stage because it desn't want t leave "a legacy f debts".

The prject links in with the Ely Master Plan - t be made public arund the middle f March - and the future grwth f the city, he said.

Officers have been lking clsely at the new Elmbridge Leisure Centre in Surrey and Ely's prject culd be built t a similar design.

East Cambridgeshire District Cuncil has already banked £160,000 in a reserve fund which culd help t finance the new leisure village. Further mney will be saved ver the next tw years pushing the fund up t £500,000.

Mr Hill added that the cuncil is cmmitted t securing the future f the cinema at Ely's Maltings but a new multi-screen cinema culd be a pssibility fr the city.

"The issue f a cinema is entirely led by the private sectr," he added, "and driven by ppulatin and catchment area.

"But Haverhill had just gt a new five-screen cinema and it is nt much bigger than Ely.

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