Leisure centre to get major revamp

A MULTI-million pound investment will be ploughed into a leisure centre ravaged by fire with a state-of-the-art swimming pool and public gallery among the upgraded facilities.

A MULTI-million pound investment will be ploughed into a leisure centre ravaged by fire with a state-of-the-art swimming pool and public gallery among the upgraded facilities.

The man behind the massive refurbishment project at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre last night outlined the main improvements three months after fire ripped through the roof of the building.

Leisure facilities manager Eric Armstrong insisted the blaze gave project chiefs the "opportunity" to push forward with a programme of change.

He said: "St Edmundsbury Borough Council has taken this opportunity to bring forward some plans to put more capital investment into the centre.


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"Improvements will be made in certain areas including the swimming pool where a dam will divide the pool allowing us greater flexibility.

"It will allow us to split the pool for the likes of aerobics or more serious swimmers and we will also be able to vary the depth.

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"It is something we have always wanted to do and this extended closure now gives us the opportunity."

September's devastating blaze – the second to hit the leisure centre in recent years – caused an estimated £1 million damage and Mr Armstrong said this amount would double after widespread renovation work.

At its height, ten crews and about 60 firefighters were drafted in after the massive fire ripped through the roof of the centre.

As well as improvements for leisure centre users, Mr Armstrong also revealed plans to improve areas for the watching public were also in the pipeline.

"Alongside the work on the pool will be a new spectators' gallery which will be able to seat up to 150 people and will be ideal for swimming galas," he said.

"Before the fire, we had a small viewing gallery between the main pool and the teaching pool and it was always our intention to improve this. We will also be carrying out a lot of work on our changing rooms."

But Mr Armstrong admitted initial estimates that the pool would reopen next September could be slightly off the mark with January 2006 now looking more likely.

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