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‘Substantial’ expansion plan for Southwell Leisure Centre

A MAJOR investment to improve and expand facilities at Southwell Leisure Centre is announced today by Newark and Sherwood District Council and Southwell Leisure Centre Trust.

Plans have been drawn up to double the size of the centre’s fitness suite which has experienced a soar in demand.

There has been a significant increase in all types of memberships in recent years and this is expected to grow further when the extension is completed.

Councillor Roger Jackson, chairman of the council’s leisure and environment committee, said: “Southwell residents account for nearly 10 per cent of the total population of Newark and Sherwood and the size of the existing facilities simply cannot accommodate the growing demand.

“Adequate leisure services that meet local needs are vital in any community and it is essential that we respond to market conditions and future population growth. The extension will allow for an extra 600 members to benefit from the facilities and open up even more opportunities for people to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.”

Paul Handley, chairman of the Southwell Leisure Centre Trustees, said: “The leisure centre team has continued to provide a superb facility for local residents with more than 80 activities on offer for all ages and all abilities. Usage has grown to a level that we need to take the next step and expand, to continue to meet residents’ needs for progressive, attractive and friendly leisure and fitness facilities.

“This partnership approach means we can now start to draw up plans and a business case, in the knowledge that funding is secured. Our key objective will remain unchanged: That every visitor leaves the centre with a better feeling of well-being and health, than when they arrived.”

The plans include a new fitness suite which will have more equipment including free weights and benches. There will be increases in cardio vascular machines from 32 to 55,   fixed weight machines from 16 to 20 in addition to 16 new resistance machines which are suitable for GP referral patients, children and instructor-led classes.

The new extension will also allow for additional club bookings. The existing fitness suite space will be used for fixed cycling classes, low impact classes such as yoga and pilates and high impact classes such as body pump, kettles and boxercise. This will, in turn, make space available within the current activity studios to provide different classes, growing the activities offering of the centre.

The leisure centre is operated as a trust with financial and management support from Newark and Sherwood District Council and Active4Today, the district council’s own leisure company. The extension will be implemented through a partnership between the trust, district council and Southwell Town Council.

The district council has earmarked funding in 2020/21 in its capital plan as its contribution to the project,   the town council has agreed to donate land for the extension and the centre will be providing funds from its own resources.  

The district council’s investment is the latest in a series to ensure that residents in Newark and Sherwood have appropriate leisure facilities that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

In 2016, the council opened the £9.4m Newark Sports and Fitness Centre, to replace the previous Grove Leisure Centre which was no longer fit for purpose.

Since opening the Newark centre, which has modern gym, swimming, sports hall, fitness studio and squash court facilities, it has experienced exceptional growth in both its adult and children’s memberships.  In November the council’s policy and finance committee approved funding for a brand new swimming pool at the Dukeries Leisure Centre which is run by Active4Today.

With a 32 per cent population growth anticipated by 2026 in Ollerton and nearby Boughton, an improved leisure facility in the area is needed to meet the expected rise in demand.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the new 20x10 metre pool will be located within the existing site in a separate building and will bring a much-needed boost to the local community.

The council’s centre at Blidworth has also received significant investment to remove a wall between the reception area and the fitness suite to create a more attractive entrance space.

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