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Council’s appeal for patience as £26m leisure centre rebuild is worked out

PUBLISHED: 11:01 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:36 02 October 2018

Yarmouth Marina Centre.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Yarmouth Marina Centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Officials are pressing ahead with a rebuild scheme for Great Yarmouth’s Marina Centre and have appealed for patience as they work out the detail.

Three years ago a major remodelling was announced for the seafront leisure hub and Bradwell’s Phoenix Pool leading to uncertainty for Retroskate and the indoors bowls club who faced eviction.

Since then drilling down into the figures has revealed a £26m rebuild would be the better option, although the what and the where have not been decided.

This week officials said work was going on behind the scenes with a design team working out the best-value option for the town.

In a joint statement, Graham Plant and Trevor Wainwright, the council’s political group leaders, said: “The proposed Marina Centre redevelopment represents a major multi-million pound investment that must deliver significant benefits for the whole borough for up to 40 years, so it is vital that the council takes the time necessary to thoroughly consider the options, follow the correct processes, and ensure everything is well planned.

“A project of this magnitude normally takes five to six years from start to finish, so we ask people to please be patient as we work through the stages. “Considerable progress has already been made and continues to be made. It is important to remember that the original concept under consideration was a refurbishment of the existing centre.

“A subsequent review and comparison of both full refurbishment and new build options, undertaken in partnership with Sport England, identified that replacing the Marina Centre with a high quality efficient leisure centre, with a designed life of up to 40 years, represents a longer-term solution and better value for money. This was stage one of the project development.

“Following the full council meeting in November 2017, the council worked through a formal procurement process to appoint a design team of architects and sports consultants, which are undertaking a detailed feasibility study to further develop and progress a new build option. This is stage two of the project development and includes important work to develop a design and facilities mix, detailed costs review, external funding opportunities, location and car parking options.”

“Engagement with key stakeholders will continue through the process. The results of the Sports Participation Survey, currently underway, will also help to shape proposals. Importantly, no decisions have yet been made. It is currently anticipated that full council will be asked in December to consider proposals, agree to funding for the rest of the project and commence the process to secure planning permission, which would include a full public consultation.”

Meanwhile Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club has just started its 37th season at the Marina Centre and its membership is growing all the time.

A spokesman said: “We are now contributing a lot more money to the Marina Centre. With the closure of Browston Hall bowls club, Great Yarmouth Indoor Bowls Club is now the only facility in the borough, so we need to have a place in the new build, if the Marina is demolished, or a new suitable venue elsewhere.”

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