Published: 09:35, 27 June 2017
With around 45,000 visits per month, the wheels are in motion for multiple expansions at Fairfield Leisure Centre in order to keep up with demand.
Operator Places for People (PfP) has been taken aback by the centre’s popularity since it reopened in Lowfield Street in February 2016 after almost two years of extensive refurbishment costing £12 million, and now further work is needed to accommodate more members and guests.
The size of the gym will be increased by around 120 square metres by moving the cycling studio to the activity room, allowing space for 25 extra pieces of equipment and 300 more members.
While this £200,000 change would be paid for by the operator, Dartford council will be paying for upgrades to the car park and shower and changing facilities.
Boosting the car park from 120 spaces to around 155 spaces could cost between £200,000 and £300,000, with PfP to make an annual payment of 4% of the cost of the works to the council until the end of its contract in 2026.
The council would also receive a share of any increase in income over and above that expected to be generated from the proposed gym expansion.
Works to the shower and changing rooms would cost £33,000, with cubicles to be introduced in the male, female, pool, and fitness changing rooms, at the expense of some of the existing communal spaces.
Centre manager Tony Crafer said: “We need to expand because we are so busy, even though we’re only talking 18 months of being open.
“A lot of our members had been waiting for the centre to be reopened and the feedback we’ve had has been really positive.
“Hopefully once it gets going the facilities will be done by the end of 2017.”
The work will need to be approved by Dartford council, with the cabinet to discuss the proposals at a meeting on Thursday.
Members are expected to give PfP permission to expand the gym at its own cost and approve a council outlay of £333,000 to increase the car parking capacity and improve the shower and cubicle provision.