Braintree: Future Olympic hopefuls will be offered better facilities at council sports centres

HEALTH and fitness facilities in Braintree are set to get a �1million makeover.

The money will go towards expanding the existing fitness suite and studio capacity at Braintree Leisure Centre and installing these same facilities at Braintree Swim Centre.

The money has been made available from Braintree District Council’s capital funds and it is hoped the investment will bring in �129,505 of revenue a year for the next ten years.

The project will be overseen by Fusion Lifestyle, the private company which took over the council’s leisure management contract in May.

The company will provide the new fitness equipment and kit needed for the studios and fitness suites.

Under the partnership, they have also agreed to cover any costs which go over the agreed budget and return any funds if the building work comes in under budget. The council’s deputy leader and resources portfolio holder Chris Siddall said the council and Fusion were excited about the project.

“I think customers can expect big improvements and it will enhance what we have already got,” he said. “Fusion has done this elsewhere in the country and it’s been a success, so we’re confident we’re going to see a higher footfall.”

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The money, which totals �945,000, has come from the sale of old housing stock several years ago. Mr Siddall said instead of putting the money in the banks, which would usually be the case, the leisure investment would bring a better rate of return while also improving leisure facilities for residents.

He said: “This is investing to save. We’re putting more money in now to save in the long-term.”

The decision was made at a full council meeting held on Monday night. Work is expected to be completed by Autumn next year.

Members also voted to award a �9.5million design and build contract for Witham Leisure Centre to developers Barr Holdings.

The new building will replace Bramston Sports Centre and include two swimming pools, dance studios, squash courts and physiotherapy and beauty treatment rooms.

The initial cost of the project was �7.5million and increased to �9million in 2010. On Monday councillors agreed a final cost of �9.499million.

The new centre, which is in Spinks Lane, is expected to open in December 2013.

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