Colchester: Leisure centre upgrades well under way

THE first phase of a �1.6million refurbishment at Colchester Leisure World is set to be unveiled in less than three weeks.

A new aerobic studio will open to the public on November 5, before work on a new, larger gym begins.

The changes are part of a major overhaul to leisure services following a fundamental service review carried out by the borough council earlier in the year.

It is hoped the initial investment will result in savings of almost �6m over eight years and bring costs to the council down to zero.

Two of the four squash courts will be removed making way for a new reception area, with self-serve counters, computers and free WiFi to book activities online. These, along with the launch of a Leisure Card for users offering discounts, will be ready by March.

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However, the council could not confirm how many jobs would be affected under the new model and said it was currently going through a recruitment process.

The council’s Sport and Leisure service also includes Leisure World Tiptree, Leisure World Highwoods, Leisure World Tennis Centre, and sports development. It employs about 400 people.

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The new Avtiva gym, which is due to open in January, will be almost double the size of the existing facility and include 51 pieces of equipment.

But the Tennis Centre still looks set to be sold off to a private operator with bids currently being considered by the council, and all holiday activities in Tiptree and Highwoods are being transferred to Colchester Leisure World.

Other changes include closing the centre in Highwoods on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. A new cafe will also be built at the front of Colchester Leisure World and open in April.

Colchester Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure Annie Feltham said; “We have done a lot of consultation with our customers and responded to what they want.

“Our aim is to encourage people across the borough to live more active lifestyles and I am excited about the changes we are making at Leisure World.”

Ms Feltham said a new pricing structure was yet to be announced but said fees were unlikely to be raised beyond inflation.

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