£1.9m leisure centre upgrade given the green light

The £2,000,000 upgrade is proposed for Brandon Leisure Centre – Photo: Terry Hawkins

West Suffolk Council’s cabinet have agreed to the proposals put forward for a £1.9m upgrade of Brandon Leisure Centre.

The scheme, which was agreed at tonight’s cabinet meeting, will see improved fitness facilities along with community health services.

Upgrades to the facilities will include an improved café and waiting area; gym relocation and a purpose built free weights area; a new studio and a Shapemaster suite along with improved changing facilities as well as treatment rooms and office space.

West Suffolk Council has worked with not for profit partner Abbeycroft Leisure, which manages its five leisure centres across the district, and Alliance Leisure, who will deliver the project.

The cost of the project will be met from West Suffolk Council’s Leisure Investment Fund, set up in 2016, which allocated £1.6m to the upgrade, and £300,000 from the Council’s Growth Fund to develop the rentable space that could be occupied by local community health practitioners.

Cllr Jo Rayner, Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs said: “One of our corporate priorities is for healthy, active families and communities which we help achieve through providing opportunities to be active.

“We began consulting Brandon residents on their ambitions in 2017 and since then have been working as part of the West Suffolk Health Alliance on configuring the site to deliver a seamless, tailored customer experience. I believe the last few months have raised awareness of the importance of looking after our health.

“Certainly national research confirms that people are planning to use COVID secure leisure facilities, perhaps even more so with shorter days allowing less outside exercise.”

Warren Smyth, CEO of Abbeycroft Leisure, said: “As a not for profit social enterprise we inspire healthier active communities through excellent facilities and services, great experiences and strong partnerships.

“This project has Brandon residents’ health at its heart and we know from collaborations in other places this can truly motivate people to do something that has a positive impact on their wellbeing.”

Work on the elements of the project which do not require planning permission is due to get underway in November, with a formal planning application for the remaining work to follow ahead of a planned completion date of September 2021.

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