December 7, 2021 3.43 pm This story is over 30 months old

Council leaders agree on £10.7m refurb of “much-loved” Deepings Leisure Centre

High hopes for better local facilities

Council leaders have agreed to move forward with a £10.7million refurbishment of the Deepings Leisure Centre.

South Kesteven District Council’s cabinet voted to support a recommendation by joint scrutiny members last week after examining a series of options for the facility.

The leisure centre was closed in July after rainwater leaks in the roof caused safety concerns, with councillors U-turning on a decision to make the closure permanent after a backlash from local residents.

Councillors on Joint Scrutiny last Tuesday voted to recommend moving forward on “Option C”, which would cost £10.663 million, along with meaningful consultation and a full spending review.

Other options ranged from completely new builds priced between £20-35 million and refurbishment options from £6 million up.

The proposals will see a full remodelling and refurbishment including reconfiguration of the main pool, a new health and fitness gym, two new studios, a changing village, modification of the entrance area and refurb of the sports hall.

Councillor Barry Dobson, executive member for leisure, told senior councillors on Tuesday that it was “an important first step” in bringing the existing centre back into use.

“Undertaking a full refurbishment and remodelling of the current centre will provide the local area with a facility which meets the evidence need, both now and in the future, but also results in improving the leisure offer in the area, providing an enhanced level of facilities and more opportunities.”

During the meeting last week residents said they were “heartbroken” by  the closure, while opposition councillors accused the Tory leadership of “betraying” and letting residents down.

However, the Conservative leadership argued the present situation was far different to what it was during the elections and that there is a lot less money in the coffers.

Councillor Dobson repeated that “a refurbishment of this magnitude and cost will still be a significant undertaking”.

He added any investment would require the council to review its spending priorities.

Council leader Kelham Cooke said it was important that “the much-loved Deepings leisure centre is reopened as soon as possible”.

He said the refurbishment would “not only return it to its former glory, but would also meet the needs of the local community much better than it has ever done before”.

Councillor Robert Reid said the move showed the council had listened to residents and opposition members.

The plans will now go before an Extraordinary meeting of SKDC’s full council next Tuesday.