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Maidstone Leisure Centre in Mote Park could be rebuilt or moved under borough council plans

A town's leisure centre could be on the move to a new multi-million pound venue due to rising costs of maintaining the ageing building.

Maidstone council is grappling with what to do with its Mote Park fitness hub - which features a gym, five swimming pools, sports hall, workout area and café.

The leisure centre is looking increasingly outdated
The leisure centre is looking increasingly outdated

The leisure centre was built in 1970 and extended in the 1990s.

But it is now seen as inefficient, especially when it comes to heating the building and the extent of its carbon emissions.

The council's contract with operator Serco expires in August 2024.

The council must decide before then whether to renew the contract on the existing building on similar terms, in which case it is likely to face increasing maintenance costs as the building deteriorates, and possibly falling attendance numbers as it fails to meet gymgoers' expectations.

Alternatively, it could refurbish the existing building at a cost estimated to be around £35m or it could build a new leisure centre either on the existing site or elsewhere in Mote Park.

Maidstone Leisure Centre's swimming pool Picture: Matthew Walker
Maidstone Leisure Centre's swimming pool Picture: Matthew Walker

A new build would cost in the region of £40m - the council believes a better design would enable it to achieve the same level of facilities in a building with a smaller footprint.

To build on the existing site would deny the town of its leisure facilities for two to three years and risk losing existing customers.
No decision has yet been reached.

In January last year, the borough council spent £200,000 on improvements to the centre, including the purchase of top of the range weight lifting and fitness equipment.

The authority is also about to consult with sports clubs and community organisations in rural areas around the town to see how best to meet their leisure needs as part of its Making Maidstone More Active (MMMA) campaign.

While acknowledging the likes of Harrietsham, Headcorn, Lenham, Marden and Staplehurst do not have large enough populations to warrant their own leisure centre, the borough is considering improvements such as improved flood-lighting at existing pitches to extend playing times.

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