Plans unveiled for long-awaited pool
PLANS have finally been submitted for a long-awaited state-of-the-art swimming pool and leisure centre in the heart of a west Suffolk town.Forest Heath District Council has submitted plans to its own planning department for the new £8.
PLANS have finally been submitted for a long-awaited state-of-the-art swimming pool and leisure centre in the heart of a west Suffolk town.
Forest Heath District Council has submitted plans to its own planning department for the new £8.5million pool for Newmarket, more than a decade after it was first mooted.
The EADT announced last month that a land deal had been struck which would allow the pool and enhanced sports complex to be built alongside the current sports centre on Exning Road.
This followed lengthy negotiations over the adjacent site of a former gas works, where it was feared the ground may have been contaminated, and the delays began to raise doubts over the scheme's future.
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However, the plans' submission is being seen as significant progress towards obtaining a replacement for the town's dilapidated pool on the High Street.
Newmarket Swimming Club chairman Stephen Bailey said: “It has been a long wait and there were times when it looked like it might not happen, so we are extremely pleased.”
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Forest Heath chief executive David Burnip thanked the people of Newmarket for their patience, which he said would be rewarded with a “first class sports facility.”
The plans are expected to go before the council's planning committee in July, and if successful, work on the construction of the new pool is scheduled to start in August, with a completion date estimated at April 2007.
The new complex will incorporate a 25metre pool, a learners pool, with a high-tech movable floor to suit all levels of competence, and a floodlit all-weather hockey pitch.
The pool will be housed in an extension to the existing sports centre, which will be remodelled, with a gym situated above the pool.
Sport England has offered around £2.5m towards the cost of the scheme, subject to approval of the latest plans, and a final decision on the level of its financial commitment to the scheme is also expected in July.
The town's current pool will close as soon as the new pool is opened, and it will be sold off for redevelopment, with the proceeds of the sale going toward the cost of its replacement.
The plans are expected to win the wholehearted approval of the council's planning committee.