£1.8m Newmarket Leisure Centre investment to be discussed

A recommendation to invest £1.8 million in Newmarket Leisure Centre’s facilities is set to be discussed by West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet next week.

The project has been informed by consultation with users and staff and would see an upgrade of fitness and exercise facilities, a brand new soft play and sensory play area and a new café and hospitality area, along with an overall refresh. Swimming facilities are not affected.

The investment is designed to encourage more people to be more active and to reduce the management fee paid by owner West Suffolk Council to its not-for-profit leisure provider, Abbeycroft Leisure.

Jo Rayner, West Suffolk Council Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, said: “We will be presenting a fully costed design to Cabinet based on two project principles: engaging our users and making the connection between activity and health. Newmarket Leisure Centre’s gym staff have won national recognition for the outstanding quality of their fitness on referral work and we are building on this by providing NHS space for support services such as community health groups and physios.

“Our users told us they’d like to see three main things: improved opportunities for fitness and exercise; an improved café and hospitality, and better car parking. The scheme we are proposing would deliver against all these areas and more.”

The leisure centre design put forward has cost certainty, meaning that the risk of any cost over the £1.83m requested would be borne by the contractor. Cabinet are also being asked to make a provision of £300,000 against car park improvements. Initially £7,000 of this would be used to better manage occupancy and get a clearer picture of how the site, which is shared with Newmarket Academy, is used. Depending on the outcome, there would then be the flexibility to introduce new measures.

The project follows close on the heels of a successful refit of Haverhill Leisure Centre by the same project team. If approved, work would begin in phases towards the end of August with completion early summer 2020.

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