District’s leisure centres to get £11.5 million upgrade

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An artist's impression of what the new gym facilities at Kingsmead will look like

The Canterbury district’s leisure centres are to get an £11.5 million upgrade later in the year.

Most of the money will be spent at the city’s Kingsmead Leisure centre which will receive £10.3 million.

It will see a new play and climbing area, a new café, new poolside steam and sauna facilities, bigger changing areas, conversion of the existing sports hall to create a large gym space, including a new interactive high intensity zone, the conversion of existing gym into new group exercise studios and a bigger car park.

The work comes following a merger between Active Life, which runs the centres, and a larger organisation Fusion Lifestyle, which like its new partner is also a registered charity.

The deal brings a new approach to the financial arrangements between the council and the operators. Instead of the council paying a subsidy each year to help fund services, Active Life will be giving the council a set annual payment.

Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s communities chairman, said: “The demand for facilities that help people get fit and play sport is insatiable in a district like ours.

“With the number of people wanting to take part in classes and other activities outstripping supply, added to the fact some of our facilities have seen better days, the time is right to make this major investment.

“Residents gave us their views via a public consultation and now is the time to get into really detailed design of the facilities and services we are going to offer.”

The council will also be spending money on improvements to the Herons Leisure Centre in Herne Bay and the Whitstable Swimming Pool and Sports Centre.

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