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New look Norfolk leisure centre nears completion

PUBLISHED: 16:07 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:22 05 March 2019

South Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

South Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

The finishing touches are still being completed but the first visitors have had a first glimpse inside the major £2 million expansion and improvement to a Norfolk town leisure centre.

South Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella WilkinsonSouth Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Workers are still busy fitting windows, laying floors and preparing to install new gym equipment ready for the opening of the new-look Long Stratton Leisure Centre on March 18.

Ahead of the planned opening to the public, councillors and officials who have been planning the major redevelopment for two years were given their first glimpse inside the building on Swan Lane.

Work on the £2 million revamp is seeing the existing building expanded into a state-of-the-art facility with improvements to the sports hall and changing rooms, along with a new multi-use studio, spinning studio and a new 75-station gym featuring the latest equipment.

It also includes a new cafe and a soft play area for youngsters built on the site of two former squash courts and which will open for family celebrations such as birthday parties.

South Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella WilkinsonSouth Norfolk Councillors Yvonne Bendle (right) and Keith Kiddie (left) at the Long Stratton leisure centre redevelopment site. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

South Norfolk Council cabinet member Yvonne Bendle, who was among those to get a behind the scenes preview tour, said: “It’s looking tremendous and is nearing completion before the opening. We are hoping it will become a real community hub and be great for families with the play area.

“We did consultation before we started the work on what people wanted and we have tried to give them what they wanted within the constraints of the building. So hopefully the public will think it is great when it opens. I’m really looking forward to it. It is really exciting.”

Gym-users will get the chance to see the new look for themselves on two public open days on March 16 and 17 before the grand opening. The re-opened centre will feature a new class programme featuring more than 40 classes.

South Norfolk Council hopes the refurbishment will help meet extra demand due to the more than 1,800 new homes planned for the village.

The leisure centre follows a £700,000 new outdoor sports pitch with future plans to develop the swimming pool at the neighbouring high school.

Mrs Bendle said: “We are hoping to do something with the pool at the school but that is still in the very early stages of negotiation but if we can it will provide a learning pool for young children.

“That would be great addition because building a new pool would be prohibitively expensive unless a developer is putting money into it.”

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