£1.4million facelift for ageing leisure centre
10:52 15 April 2014
The first part of what could be a two-phase multi-million-pound refit of Exmouth’s ageing leisure centre, is set to begin in October.
LED Leisure Management Ltd is putting the final touches to stage one, a £1.4million scheme to convert half the current sports hall and two of four squash courts into a ground-floor gym, double the capacity of the existing gym, writes Dave Beasley.
However, half of the space currently used for activities like badminton will be lost; and five-a-side football will have to move elsewhere.
The proposals include the creation of a new internal floor, increasing capacity without increasing the size of the existing building.
A new exercise studio will be created on this floor, above the squash courts, and an indoor climbing wall will be added towards the front of the centre.
LED chief executive Peter Gilpin said: “We are adding more than 150 square metres of activity floor space.
“This will more than double our health and fitness capacity at the centre, enable us to maintain provision for racquet sports and also help us to add new activities to extend our customer base.
“By increasing our customer numbers, we will also be able to reduce LED’s reliance on an operating subsidy from East Devon District Council.”
The aim is for the increasing revenue to pave the way for ‘phase two’ - the refurbishment of the swimming pool changing rooms into a modern, family changing ‘village’.
But this is dependent on a securing external funding.
He added: “We have consulted with the users, and we are keen to ensure that we do our best to meet their future needs.
“In particular, we are looking to accommodate our badminton players by re-programming the remaining two badminton courts.
“The two glass backed squash courts will remain.”
The work should be finished by next summer, and during this period many current activities could be temporally moved to either Exmouth Community College or Withycombe Tennis Centre.
Councillor Andrew Moulding, chairman of Exmouth Regeneration Programme Board, said: “I’m pleased that changes that will benefit all users of the sports centre are now moving closer to being delivered.
“Improvements to the sports centre are mentioned in our Exmouth Masterplan document…
“I’m hopeful that the works will not cause too much inconvenience and that alternative arrangements can be made for any sports that are affected by the reconfiguring of the internal layout.”