Building plans for new Ely Leisure Centre given the go ahead by Council - subject to £1.5m grant from Sport England

Building can begin in September 2016 - as long as it receives £1.5m in funding from Sport England.

Building can begin in September 2016 - as long as it receives £1.5m in funding from Sport England. - Credit: Archant

Building of the new £13.5m District Leisure Centre in Ely is to begin in September after East Cambridgeshire District Council gave it the green light this week.

At a meeting on June 28, councillors gave their ‘overwhelming’ support to proposals and costs outlined by Mace, the project managers brought in by the council to move the scheme forward.

The building of the Downham Road centre – which will include an eight lane 25m pool, health and fitness suite and a 3G artificial pitch – is subject to a £1.5m grant from Sport England.

London-based contractors Pellikaan are to be brought in to oversee the build, before GLL Sport Foundation takes over once it is completed in early 2018.

The opening of the centre will bring the closure of the city’s Paradise Pool on Newnham Street, which the council say has an “ageing structure” and is “too small to meet the demand for water space in the district.” The pool will stay open during construction of the leisure centre before it is closed and staff will be transferred over to the new site.

Councillor Richard Hobbs, chairman of commercial services for the council, said: “I’m delighted that we can now begin this very exciting build. This leisure centre will offer something for the whole community.

“It is vital that we give our residents the chance to take part in sporting activities and exercise so that they can enjoy good health as well as fun leisure time.”

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The council has also said that the new centre will be self-funding, and will not be funded by the council taxpayer.

Cllr Hobbs said: “This new leisure centre complex will provide those opportunities and will be a fantastic resource for the district.

“The current leisure centre was designed with a much smaller population in mind. We now have a growing district, due to the success of the area, and so are desperately in need of the new centre. It is wonderful news that we will now be able to provide such greatly improved facilities to meet the demands of the whole district.

“I hope everyone will enjoy having access to the eight lane swimming pool, two dance studios, four-court sports hall, an all-weather pitch and a 120 station cardio gym.”