All systems go for town's new leisure facility as £26m proposal is agreed by council
PUBLISHED: 22:30 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:24 28 June 2019
A multi-million pound replacement leisure centre is hoped to be the beginning of greater things for a Norfolk seafront.
Ambitious plans to demolish Great Yarmouth's Marina Centre in favour of a new water and leisure complex have now been almost unanimously agreed by the borough council - in what was hailed as a plan fit for the 21st century.
With the project agreed, all that now stands in between the town and the £26m facility is a planning application, which the council will submit next month.
If this succeeds, it is hoped demolition work on the existing centre - which opened in 1981- will begin after its scheduled closure on October 31.
Carl Smith, Conservative leader of the council, said: "We have spent a long time looking over different plans, which has been going on since 2014. We hope it will prove to be a centre the town can really be proud of."
In the run-up to the decision, concerns had been raised that demolishing the centre before a replacement could be built would leave people short of options while construction was taking place - in particular swimmers with disabilities.
However, Kate Watts, the council's strategic director, assured members of the public that provisions would be put in place at the Phoenix Leisure Centre in Bradwell, with specific slots and access to be arranged.
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Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group, said: "Of course we recognise there will be short term pain, but in 2021 people will be able to benefit from a brilliant new facility."
Hopes were expressed that the new facility, expected to last for up to 40 years, could unlock further investment in the town's seafront.
Independent councillor Adrian Myers said: "My hope is that this will encourage more investment in the Golden Mile in future. If this can increase footfall perhaps it could even attract interest for somebody to even bring the Winter Gardens back into use."
Meanwhile, Mr Smith insisted the council will continue work to help clubs currently at home in the centre find alternative locations - with the new centre not set to provide renewed facilities to the bowling or artistic rollerskating clubs.
Designs for the centre include two water flumes, a splash pad, confidence water area, learner pool with moveable floor, and a six-lane 25m pool with full disabled access.
The complex will also be equipped with a health suite and sauna, steam and spa, gym, first floor terrace, multi-purpose sports hall, indoor climbing facility, fitness and spin studios, soft play area, 100 extra car parking spaces, Tourist Information Centre, and a café with views over the beach.