Some £8.36 million could be spent on improvements at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre if a package of work is approved.

On Tuesday (July 16), West Suffolk Council will consider plans to spend an extra £2.15m on top of an existing £6.2m capital programme of maintenance and improvement works to the Beestons Way leisure centre. 

This follows a decision to cancel the previously planned Western Way Development due to uncertainty over public and household finances, as well as the council's finances.

This plan predicted an initial cost of £39.7m which would, over 40 years, reach a total of £58.2m. This was in comparison to the £62.8m in total costs accrued over the same time for minimum refurbishment.

Following an Overview and Scrutiny review last year, the council cabinet asked officers to explore opportunities to enhance the offer at the centre through an invest to save approach. 

West Suffolk Council and Abbeycroft, which runs the centre, have been working together with specialist consultants to develop refurbishment plans based on previous survey work that looked at use as well as gaps in provision.

The business case, which will be brought before full council next week, sets out the proposed plan. 

This includes remodelling the main entrance area, a new café and soft play through the conversion of the leisure pool space, the creation of a splash pad with water play features and the refurbishment of the cubicle area.

Other plans include the refurbishment of the pool halls, including replacement tiles and balustrades, the creation of a health and wellbeing area, as well as the refurbishment of the gym and sports hall.

The council said work would be coordinated to try, as far as possible, to minimise disruption to centre users.

If the business case is agreed by the council, a survey will be conducted where the public can view the proposed changes and provide feedback.

Work will also be carried out to further achieve greater cost certainty at the earliest point possible.

Cllr Ian Shipp, cabinet member for leisure, who will be seeking the budget approval of the council, said: "As part of our strategic priority for Thriving Communities, West Suffolk is committed to ensuring our residents can access high quality sport and leisure facilities to support their health and wellbeing.

"At a time when many councils nationally may be cutting back on things like leisure, we are proposing investment.

"Refurbishing the leisure centre will provide the opportunity to improve the leisure centre, enhancing the offer for young families while also developing the work linking health and leisure services to aid recovery or help people manage a medical condition.

"This carefully considered investment that I will be asking council to agree to, will allow us to update and enhance the facilities so that they are better matched to what people need."

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