Suffolk Coastal has announced ambitious plans to invest in its leisure centres, but Felixstowe is last on the list after Deben Pools in Woodbridge and Leiston – so work may not start till 2020 at the earliest.
The work is part of the council’s commitment to improve its leisure centre offer and to encourage more people to become more active.
One of Suffolk Coastal’s 10 priorities in its Business Plan focuses on the need to provide high-quality, modern leisure centres that the whole community can enjoy, with state-of-the-art equipment, that come at no additional cost to the tax payer.
The work builds on the progress made by the Leisure Strategy formed in 2014, which sets out how improvements to the leisure provision will be made across the district, over the next 10 years.
A five year programme is now being launched, with Deben Leisure Centre as the first to be upgraded, followed by Leiston and then Felixstowe.
While the timetable of works is still being finalised, it is expected that refurbishments will start at Deben Leisure Centre in 2017, with the other centres following in subsequent years.
Suffolk Coastal is working closely with its operational leisure partners, Places for People Leisure, to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and existing users receive regular communications and updates.
Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure, said: “We’re delighted that we now have plans in place to ensure we have high quality leisure centres across the district that will become places communities can be proud of.
“When our leisure centres were first built, they gave our communities a great sense of pride, such as Deben Pool which couldn’t have been built without the support and hard work of local groups and residents. However, our leisure centres are now aging and need updating to today’s and future standards so that they have the best facilities and become the destinations of choice for our residents.
“We want to increase the number of people using our leisure facilities and boost overall numbers of people taking part in health and well-being activities as part of our commitment to getting more people fit and active.
“Residents and visitors to Suffolk Coastal will have the opportunity to experience dramatically improved facilities with new equipment in a modern setting. We hope the investment and transformation it will bring will make our leisure centres places our communities are truly proud of.”
Proposals for Deben Leisure Centre are being developed to take account of the current and future market and with the benefit of customer feedback. They will include an additional floor added to the front of the building, with purpose built family changing areas and separate changing facilities for use by schools.
Two studios are also being provided, one to incorporate a spin room and the other for fitness classes, which will also be available for community hire. The new gym has been designed to be more spacious, featuring modern equipment and the pool area will feature a new health suite with a steam room, sauna and ice room.
The plans and proposals are available to download from the Suffolk Coastal website: and can also be viewed in the foyer of Deben Leisure Centre. www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/leisure/sportandleisuredevelopment/suffolk-coastals-leisure-centre-redevelopment-programme