Work to complete the refurbishment of the former Bungay Pool & Gym will be completed this week and the facility, which will be renamed ‘Waveney Valley Leisure Centre’ will be re-opening in October.
Bungay Pool & Gym closed in September 2019 to undergo a £3.4 million refurbishment to bring state of the art facilities to the area. Initially estimated to take around 10 months to complete, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that work was slightly delayed.
As well as renewing the mechanical and electrical systems, the refurbishment includes:
The Waveney Valley Leisure Centre is the third East Suffolk leisure centre to undergo a full refurbishment as part of the Council’s commitment to improve its leisure facilities and to encourage more people to exercise regularly. This follows Deben Leisure Centre and Leiston Leisure Centre, both of which have undergone major and hugely successful improvements in the past three years.
Cllr Letitia Smith, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Leisure, said: “Before lockdown, we were seeing a real surge of interest in our refurbished leisure centres, which have all been completed to the highest standard, and we are excited that Waveney Valley Leisure Centre can now join this
“It goes without saying that taking care of our own wellbeing has never been more important, and exercise has a significant impact on both our physical and mental wellbeing, so we are very excited that our customers are returning and we look forward to be welcoming people back to the Waveney Valley Leisure Centrevery soon.
“I want to reassure everyone that we have been taking every step to ensure we can have a safe re-opening, including putting a number of safety measures and cleaning regimes into place, as well as maintaining social distancing measures.
“I would personally like to thank our customers, and everyone in the area, for their support and patience while the work was done, and for being understanding to the slight delay in re-opening due to Covid-19.
“One of our key priorities is to get more people active, and we hope that we have created a facility which will be enjoyed by the community for many years to come.”
Places Leisure, who operate the Council’s leisure centres in the south of the district, have been awarded an interim operational contract for Waveney Valley Leisure Centre and will also manage Waterlane Leisure Centre, following the end of Sentinel Leisure Trust’s operational contract at both centres.
Delays to the contractual/procurement process caused by Covid-19 means that it has not been possible to appoint a permanent operator yet, however, a decision is expected to be taken in December.
Cllr Smith continues: “We have an established relationship with Places Leisure, who have run our leisure centres in the south of the district for a number of years, so getting them in to help with the re-opening whilst we find a permanent operator, was the best solution to enable us to not only get Waveney Valley Leisure Centre off to a great start, but ensure a smooth transition.”
Meanwhile, as part of the Council’s ongoing improvement programme for its leisure centres, essential specialised work, which has been unable to proceed until now due to Covid-19, will also be undertaken at Waterlane Leisure Centre this Autumn.
The work will include replacing the equipment and flooring in the gym, upgrading the lighting and adding new flooring in the sports hall as well as repairing showers and decoration throughout. The pool area will also see improvements with plans to empty the pool to repair the teaching pool moveable floor and the pool tiles.
The Waterlane centre will close on 15 October and the work is expected to take around 3 months to complete. Members will be kept fully informed during the works and will be encouraged to use other facilities such as the Waveney Valley Leisure Centre during the period of closure.