With the economic recovery gathering momentum, commercial building projects around the country have been given something of a kick-start as local authorities attempt to strengthen local economies. One such project is the new leisure centre due to be built in Hinckley, with councillors this week having granted final planning approval which will allow construction work to begin this summer.
The £13.5 million leisure centre will be constructed on the site of the old council offices at Argents Mead. DC Leisure Management, now known as Places for People Leisure, submitted the original application and will operate the centre when it opens in summer 2015.
Councillor Bron Witherford was pleased to announce the local authority’s granting of planning permission, saying; “This is again a major development in my ward in the much awaited regeneration of Hinckley town centre.
“I am aware the existing facility has exceeded its viable life and the people of the borough deserve this new development.
“I am also pleased to see the sports agencies have had their input into the design of the facility and given it their backing – it’s going to be a really good facility and hopefully its position will help bring more people to the retail units in the town.”
The development will be created using sustainable materials in order to make it as environmentally friendly as possible, and large portions of the exterior will be glazed to allow for as much natural lighting as possible. As well as a 25 metre eight lane pool and learner pool with an adjustable floor, visitors will be able to benefit from a splash and fun zone, a sauna and several steam rooms.
In addition, the facility will contain a 120 station gym, an eight courts sports hall, a glazed group cycling studio and even a climbing wall. The swimming pool area will also benefit from a viewing platform able to seat 150 people.
Unfortunately, though, the plans have attracted a certain amount of controversy already, with several local residents lodging complains regarding the “village” style changing rooms. Many are concerned that the unisex changing room with individual cubicles will deter visitors and put a dampener on social interaction, and are instead calling for developers to return to the original format of separate, single sex changing rooms.
Councillor Witherford continues; “I have received many enquiries about the village changing rooms and showers.
“Having presented these concerns to senior officers I am confident that there are suitable options for everyone – there have been alterations made so people can change in more private and social facilities.
“There are also issues with car parking and we have to take that on the nose: unfortunately this is going to be a problem for the public during the whole regeneration project but it will be worth it in the end.”
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