How to pay for Ely’s new leisure set for discussion by councillors

Concept design for Ely leisure centre

Concept design for Ely leisure centre - Credit: Archant

How the new Ely leisure centre will be paid for is set to be discussed by councillors tomorrow (Thursday).

East Cambs District Council’s Corporate Governance and Finance Committee will hear an update on progress being made to ensure the new centre is affordable.

Officers will outline a number of possible funding scenarios for members to decide how the facilities planned for Downham Road could be paid for.

A report to the meeting also outlines the differing costs of the two preferred options, chosen earlier this summer.

The first is for a six lane swimming pool and the second is for eight lanes.

There are extra costs involved in the larger pool and the report explains that while the six lanes are cheaper to build and has better viability from an income generation point of view, the eight lanes facility will better meet the need for indoor leisure facilities and future growth up to 2026.

The six lane facility will cost £11.834m while the eight lane one will be £12,696m. The council would need to borrow £6,488,352 and £6,377,151 for the eight lanes option.

Most Read

The report highlights a range of funding options which includes careful borrowing, the sale of assets and also grants.

Councillors are also being asked to consider what facilities they would like included in the new centre.

Committee chairman Councillor Kevin Ellis said: “Building a new leisure centre for the district is one of the key priorities for the authority. A modern, purpose built facility which meets the needs of residents both now and in the future has so many positives benefits for us all. By encouraging people to be fit and healthy, we can tackle the causes of poor health which if left unchecked will have a much greater cost to society.

“The challenge for us is to make sure we put in place a package which we can afford. There is no point in building a leisure centre if it burdens the tax payer with a high bill for many years to come.

“However, we are also acutely aware of our role in developing the infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing district. These are the issues which we are elected to decide on and I believe we will all work hard to ensure we develop the best solution for East Cambridgeshire.”

The decisions taken at tomorrow’s meeting will be fed into other committees involved in bringing the leisure centre to reality.