Views sought on Kingsmead upgrade

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Public consultation on city council plans for a multi-million pound upgrade of Kingsmead Leisure Centre in Canterbury is up and running.

The centre is in need of significant investment. The fitness gym and studios have reached capacity and extra space is needed to meet demand, while the swimming pool changing facilities require major refurbishment. The main proposals are:

  • Extend the gym to create extra space including more and bigger studios
  • Create a new two-storey soft play area and adventure zone next to a refurbished café
  • Create a new pool changing area
  • Refurbish the dry male and female changing rooms
  • Provide around 48 extra parking spaces

In addition, the council is consulting on two options for the future of the centre’s sports hall.

Option one involves changing the use of the hall into a large multi-sports and exercise space. Research shows there is a surplus of hall space around the district at the moment. Current hirers would be helped to find a new place to play their sports.

Option two sees the new facility outlined in option one provided, along with a new sports hall on the first floor. This would give the capacity to grow participation and provide extra space for use by more community groups.

Option one costs £9 million, while option two costs £10.5 million. The council will be borrowing the money to fund the work and paying it back over 20 years. The repayments on option two would cost an extra £96,000 a year for 20 years, making it £1.9 million more expensive to provide the new sports hall on the first floor.

Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “We recognise the leisure centre has seen better days and that demand for the excellent range of classes and activities on offer far exceeds the space available.

“Now is definitely the time to be addressing these issues and we’re prepared to make the major investment the centre really needs.

“While we will be interested to hear opinions on the plans in general, we’re particularly keen to hear views on the sports hall issue. Do we actually need one? Is it worth the extra cost? It’s important we get this decision right and the comments from the public on this will help us do so.”

Full information about the proposals and a survey is available on the council’s website. Views should be submitted by Sunday 18 February. A decision on the plans will be taken in April and if agreed, work would start in late 2018 or early 2019.

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