April 5, 2022 3.30 pm This story is over 25 months old

New plans for Deepings Leisure Centre given the green light

Critics welcome changes but say more still needed

New plans for Deepings Leisure Centre which have seen South Kesteven District Council leaders u-turn on losing the learner pool have been given the green light.

Councillors on the authority’s Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted in favour of a new “Option D”, which would see the learner pool retained and the removal of a “moveable” floor, on Tuesday.

It follows a consultation on the authority’s £10.7 million plans for a full refurbishment of the facility, which saw nearly a quarter of residents tell the council to keep the pool.

Officers told the committee the new option would still meet the community’s needs.

The rethink would generate slightly more income but would have higher staffing and utility costs.

Leisure cabinet member Councillor Barry Dobson said it gave him “great pleasure to present” the report.

He said the new option would “serve all of the southern part of SKDC”.

Critics of the plans had panned the removal of the learner pool and inclusion of the moveable floor, urging the authority to keep the former to enable the facility to continue to be used as a gala venue.

They also used the opportunity to promote their own consultation, launched after SKDC’s own was felt to be lacking, which asked far more questions and received a greater number of responses.

Market and West Deepings Independent Councillor Ashley Baxter and others told the committee they could have saved the authority the £10,000 it spent on getting Athene Communications to carry out the survey.

However, he said he was pleased to support the new option adding it was “very welcome.”

” I’m pleased with the council has seen the light and actually started listening to communities,” he told the meeting.

He said it had been a “crazy, flawed” idea to scrap the learner pool in the first place.

Concerns continued to be raised about some of the facilities at the pool, including the lack of a cafe and detail over energy efficiency plans.

However, a vote on the recommendations will now see the proposals go to cabinet for a final decision on the future of the leisure centre.