March 12 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 2, 2013
A £1m investment will be made to upgrade three South Norfolk leisure centres in a bid to attract a wider variety of members.
This will be carried out in three phases beginning with improvements to the Wymondham centre, followed by a search for new land for a second centre in Diss, and a third phase for improvements to Long Stratton Leisure.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s cabinet today (Monday), officers said improvements at Wymondham would include a new cafe - which they estimated could make around £25,000 per year - a children’s play area - which could bring in around £47,000 per year - improvements to the changing rooms and fitness suits, redecoration, and bringing the entry system up to date.
A synthetic ice rink is also due to open to the public on December 20 for the Christmas season.
Wymondham councillor Joe Mooney said: “Wymondham Leisure Centre does need upgrading and this will go a long way - there’s a very good business plan for doing it.”
In Diss, the aim would be to provide a new cafe in the existing centre, with a stand-alone fitness centre on a second site due to space constraints at the current Victoria Road location.
Diss councillor Glyn Walden said the search for a new site should run parallel with phase one however; although South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller stressed that progress was being made.
“Diss is different from the others in that we don’t have a site we can expand - what is available is two privately-owned sites along Victoria Road that aren’t being used, and the old pine shop but it’s not really the best site,” Mr Walden said.
“We’ve got these various sites we’d like to do something with but I wonder whether we can help to push this forward to talk to the private owners to see if we get this moving.”
Officers added that a meeting was also being held with Diss High School next week at which they would discuss sharing facilities.
Mr Fuller said: “There’s a lot of stuff here but this isn’t investing for investing sake - it’s a good opportunity and if you’re in the business you’ve got to be as good as the private sector and take on opportunities. Let’s break the back of this and get improvements as soon as possible.”
Phase three would involve a new play area and other improvements at Long Stratton Leisure Centre.
Cabinet councillors approved the release of funding, some £1,021,000, for works at the Wymondham and Diss centres.
Phases two and three will be subject to a further report to be approved.