Plans for a £2.2m development and refurbishment at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre in Stowmarket have been given the go ahead today, Tuesday, April 28, which include an extension to the existing building.
The works to improve leisure provision in the district will include:
· An extension to the current building housing a newly refurbished fitness suite
· Refurbishing the front of the existing building, including new signage
· Essential repairs and decorating
This follows approval by cabinet in February this year, for the work to be funded by £2.2 million from the council’s Growth and Efficiency Fund.
The development will provide modern facilities at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, with Stradbroke Pool and Fitness also seeing an equipment refresh using the current 2019/20 budget.
In light of COVID-19, Mid Suffolk District Council’s chief planning officer has used emergency delegated powers to give the green light to plans which would allow works to get underway in coming months after lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The extension and refurb form part of the council’s re-procurement of Mid Suffolk’s leisure facility management contract.
Before works begin, a raft of environmentally-friendly options including solar panels and electric vehicle charging points are to be explored.
Julie Flatman, cabinet member for housing and communities at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “This is an exciting step towards our wider vision for Stowmarket and developing our sports and leisure infrastructure, as well as improving fitness provision in Mid Suffolk so we can support our residents to remain active. The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated the importance of the health and wellbeing of our communities,and achieving the aims set out in our Leisure, Sport & Physical Activity Strategy will be of paramount importance during the recovery over the following months and years.”
Anselm Gurney, contract manager at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre for Everyone Active, said: “While we face unprecedented and challenging times at the moment, we are excited our plans have been approved so we can look to deliver much-needed improvements for our customers’ fitness experience at our centres. We look forward to continuing to work closely in partnership with Mid Suffolk District Council, to benefit the local community by achieving our objective of getting everyone active.”
David Burn, cabinet member for planning at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “The green light for these plans means we can be prepared and ready to carry out the necessary essential repairs and upgrades as soon as possible and our communities can enjoy modern facilities without unnecessary delay.”
Plans were put forward by Everyone Active, as part of a proposed arrangement currently under negotiation to manage Mid Suffolk’s leisure facilities for the next 15 years.
Once finalised, the arrangement includes the introduction of a new outreach programme in Mid Suffolk co-ordinated by Everyone Active.
This programme aims to bring sport and activity to a wider community to achieve the outcomes in the council’s Leisure, Sport and Physical Activity Strategy.