Sporting chance for new leisure centre

PUBLISHED: 11:52 19 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

A NEW £10 million plus leisure centre could be built in East Cambridgeshire to mark the 2012 Olympic Games. The centre, which would probably be built in Ely, would stand on a site of up to 22 acres and replace the existing Paradise Swimming Pool and Sport

A NEW £10 million plus leisure centre could be built in East Cambridgeshire to mark the 2012 Olympic Games.

The centre, which would probably be built in Ely, would stand on a site of up to 22 acres and replace the existing Paradise Swimming Pool and Sports Centre.

It would include a new swimming pool, gym and sports hall and its opening could coincide with the 2012 Olympics.

The plans have been unveiled after an independent report revealed that 50 per cent of people in the district take no exercise.

Now East Cambridgeshire District Council officers are looking at the options available to raise the cash for the project.

"If the finances can be put in place and we can prove the centre would be sustainable, we hope to deliver the best possible leisure centre for the district by 2012," said Cllr. Peter Cresswell, chairman of the district council's community services committee.

"What could be a better legacy from London 2012 than a new purpose-built leisure centre facility which we could all be inspired to use?"

The new centre would serve the whole district and include:

# a six-court badminton hall which could be divided for other uses

# three squash courts

# a loose weights' room

# a gym with a minimum of 80

fitness stations

# a 25 metre by eight lane short course competition swimming pool, with spectator facilities and changing rooms

# a learner pool.

The centre could also include six indoor bowls rinks and three indoor tennis courts, with cricket, bowls and senior football pitches outside.

District council officers commissioned Strategic Leisure in autumn 2006 to analyse the current and future needs of the district and identify what would be required to meet those needs.

The study revealed that Ely's population is expected to grow by more than 3,000 to 20,000 plus by 2012.

Strategic Leisure decided, therefore, that the city was more likely to sustain a new centre.

The report also says that replacing the separate Paradise Swimming Pool and Sports Centre with one new building would reduce operation costs, and improve programming and price structures.

"A new leisure centre would be exciting news for the district and this report makes it clear there is a definite need for new facilities," added Cllr Creswell.

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