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March pool axed in leisure centre make-over?

General Views of the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March ANL-141108-151516009

General Views of the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March ANL-141108-151516009

Options to take a dated leisure centre from the 1960s into the 21st century – including getting rid of its swimming pool – will be debated tomorrow.

Leisure chiefs have drawn up four options to make-over the George Campbell Centre in City Road, March – ranging in cost from nearly £500,000 to £1.65 million.

Fenland District Council’s cabinet will choose an option at a meeting tomorrow – but its ruling Conservative group has already dismissed the most expensive option and insisted the council only agree lower value improvements.

Three ideas retain a modernised pool – but a fourth option involves building a new leisure centre next to the library with no swimming pool.

Phil Hughes, the council’s head of leisure, will tell cabinet: “There has been no significant investment in the George Campbell Centre for a number of years; it also lacks the modern gym and fitness class studio facilities of the other Fenland leisure centres.

“In addition, the swimming changing areas are outdated and in a poor state of repair.”

His report says the pool is expensive to run and operates below capacity and although facilities have been upgraded they do not match those at The Hudson in Wisbech or Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey.

He also says the poor state of repair and lack of updated facilities have resulted in less income and lower levels of customer satisfaction.

If councillors choose to keep the swimming pool, then the changing rooms will be given a facelift. One option is to refurbish them while two other options are to create ‘village style’ changing rooms like at the Hudson.

In all three options which keep swimming, the pool will be given a new roof and pool liner replacement, new boilers and new tiles in the pool and on the poolside.

In the three options that involve upgrading the current George Campbell building, the gym stations will be increased from 33 to 50 by building an extension at the front of the gym area with a higher roof and glass panels to improve natural light.

This work was granted planning permission last week along with an extension at the back of the pool within a courtyard area.

Fenland has spent £3.8million at the Manor, Hudson, and Chatteris Leisure Centres which has led to extra customers.

The pay-back has been a rise in direct debit income of £105,120 a year at the Hudson and £50,000 a year at the Manor. At the George Campbell, direct debit income is £69,600 lower a year than the Manor and £135,120 a year lower than the Hudson.

The options are:

Option One – cost £489,457.

• A 50 station gym

• Purpose built studio for fitness classes

• Make-over changing rooms with new suspended ceiling, new lights, ventilations, new heating, replacing damaged lockers, new showers, decoration

Option One A – cost £549,001 (tender cost of £765,691 minus a £216,690 grant from Sport England).

• A 50 station gym

• Purpose built studio for fitness classes

• Replace swimming pool changing rooms with new village style changing facility

• Refurbishment works

Option Two – cost £1.65m.

• A 50 station gym

• Purpose built studio for fitness classes

• Keep the current pool and replace the rest of the facility with a new building

• Replace changing rooms with a village style facility

• Separate new gym and fitness class changing rooms

• Improved entrance hall and new modern reception

• Potential area for soft play and catering

Option Three – cost £1.2m.

• Close the pool and build a new leisure centre next to the library - similar to that at Chatteris

• 50 station gym

• Purpose built studio for fitness classes

• Improved entrance hall

 

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