Costs mount up for proposed district-wide leisure centre

East Cambridgeshire District Council.

East Cambridgeshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

The estimated cost of the district’s new leisure centre has increased by almost £1million after an architectural survey uncovered an ‘abnormality’ with the proposed building site.

Work carried out by consultants Faithful and Gould on behalf of East Cambridgeshire District Council discovered that the site where the authority hopes to build the new centre, in Downham Road, has a ‘high water table’.

As a result of the discovery, additional work will be required on the centre’s foundations when building work begins.

Coupled with other factors, including the impact of inflation, the cost of building the new centre is expected to rise from £12,696,975 to £13,658,000 – an increase of about £961,000.

In November, councillors agreed outline plans for the proposed centre’s facilities, which will include an eight-lane, 25m length pool, a learner pool, a 120 station gym, two dance studios, a four badminton court sports hall, and a full sized 3G all-weather pitch.

The centre will be built near the proposed new multi-screen cinema and restaurant complex.

Although the centre is expected to be funded, in part, by levy payments from housing developers, the district council says it is still working on a detailed plan which will allow it to raise the required funds.

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Allison Conder, the council’s principal leisure services officer, will tell councillors today (Thursday): “Work is continuing to develop the council’s funding strategy for the project, and costs for the next stage of works for the internal and external resources that will be required to complete detailed designs, secure planning permission and procure a building contractor and operator.

“Officers will bring back proposals on both of these issues to full council for decision.”

In May, the council held a series of public exhibitions about the leisure centre plans, with 164 people providing response. The main concern highlighted was a perceived lack of spectator seating by the swimming pool.

The council said it would investigate the possibility of adding more seating, based on its budget.