CHATTERIS finally took a step closer to getting its much longed-for leisure centre on Thursday with a turf-cutting ceremony.
The ceremony held at the site adjacent to the Cromwell Community College marked the start of work on a new leisure suite for the town.
Long-standing campaigner Florence Newell, who was among a host of dignitaries who attended the ceremony, said the centre was a “long time coming” and pledged to continue with pressure to provide Chatteris with a swimming pool.
Mrs Newell has been campaigning for leisure facilities for the town virtually since she was elected as a local councillor in 1979 and is hoping she will eventually achieve her aim of ensuring Chatteris has the same facilities as all the other Fenland towns.
She also believesthe state-of-the-art leisure facilities set to be provided at the new suite will also be of benefit to neighbouring villages as well.
The project is a joint initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council, Chatteris Town Council and the governing body of the Cromwell Community College.
The £1.1m centre is part of a wider programme to improve leisure facilities in Chatteris and follows the completion of an all-weather pitch and sports pavilion at the College which opened last autumn.
It will consist of a 50-station gym and dance studio, with adjoining reception area and changing rooms. Fenland Council has provided £600,000 and Chatteris Town Council £500,000.
The gym has been developed alongside the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme at the Cromwell and will be available for community use when it opensthis autumn.
The building work is being managed by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Representatives from the County Council, District Council and Town Council attended the turf cutting carried out by town Mayor Peter Murphy, together with representatives from Kier Construction, the main contractors.