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Kingsmead Leisure Centre in Canterbury, Herons Leisure Centre in Herne Bay and Whitstable Swimming Pool set to undergo £11.5m makeover

By Anna MacSwan

A multi-million pound refurbishment of three leisure centres is set to start by the end of the year.

Canterbury City Council is investing £10.3m in Kingsmead Leisure Centre, with plans for the revamped pool and gym complex in Kingsmead Road to include a new children's play and climbing area, poolside steam and sauna facilities, café and group exercise studios.

The designs, which will be finalised over the coming months, also include a new wet changing area, bigger dry changing area, converting the sports hall to a large gym space with a high intensity zone and a larger car park.

The proposed design for the new pool at Kingsmead Leisure Centre (7785969)
The proposed design for the new pool at Kingsmead Leisure Centre (7785969)

Herons Leisure Centre in Herne Bay is also set to undergo a £500,000 makeover, with improvements made to the first-floor gym and ground floor studios.

The foyer and reception areas and ground-floor dry changing facilities are also set to be refurbished.

A further £700,000 will be spent on Whitstable Swimming Pool, bringing the council's total spend to £11.5m, on exercise classes and refurbishing the lobby, toilets and wet changing facilities.

The plans include new exercise studios
The plans include new exercise studios

Cllr Neil Baker, who chairs the council's Community Committee, said: "The demand for facilities that help people get fit and play sport is insatiable in a district like ours.

"With the number of people wanting to take part in classes and other activities outstripping supply, added to the fact some of our facilities have seen better days, the time is right to make this major investment.

"Residents gave us their views via a public consultation and now is the time to get into really detailed design of the facilities and services we are going to offer."

The announcement follows a merger between Active Life, the charitable trust which runs leisure centres on the city council's behalf, and Fusion Lifestyle.

Active Life will become a subsidiary of Fusion and operate Kingsmead Leisure Centre, Herons Leisure Centre, Bay Sports Arena and Whitstable Swimming Pool via a local board, and make a set annual payment to the council in return for its investment.

The new gym at Kingsmead Leisure Centre
The new gym at Kingsmead Leisure Centre

Fusion Lifestyle's chief executive Peter Kay, said: "This partnership between Fusion and Active Life allows both organisations to further their charitable objectives while delivering significant improvements to their leisure facilities and the future financial position to the city council."

Active Life's chief executive, Neil West, said: "We are delighted to have brought this deal to fruition.

"It couples continuity of local experience, knowledge and the extensive partnerships that have been established with the robustness and expertise of Fusion Lifestyle."

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