Published: 13:33, 14 January 2022
| Updated: 14:56, 14 January 2022
Work is now well under way to demolish a leisure centre, which is set to be replaced by a new £15m facility.
Clearance is expected to continue until the scheduled completion date of February 11. It is hoped the new centre will be open iin the summer of 2024. Councillors gathered at the site today (Friday) to see how the work is progressing.
Among them was Rainham ward councillor Martin Potter who was one of the last people to take a swim in the pool there before lockdown in 2020.
Cllr Howard Doe, deputy leader of Medway Council and cabinet member for leisure, said the new centre will have a focus on fun - offering something different to the pools at Medway Park in Gillingham and Strood Leisure Centre.
He said: "There will be a pool, exercise room - and that room will be multi purpose to be used for things like children's parties - there will be a number of fun features to make sure children find it lively and exciting and there will be a gym facility as well.
"It won't be a huge gym - but we don't need to have a huge gym. It will be one that is much more informal so those people who wouldn't usually go to a gym aren't put off.
"Instead of 50 of these machines with everyone looking bronze and fit and pedalling away, what we will do is make it more accessible to the public.
"The pool will have the same fun element, in contrast to Medway Park which is very much for the serious swimmers as well. Here it will be for a much more informal splash about and that has the advantage of getting younger children involved in the water and liking the water, which is the precursor of becoming a more serious swimmer."
The council's original plan was to refurbish the leisure centre but when problems with the structure were uncovered it was decided to knock it down and start again.
Cllr Doe said: "We had an ordinary survey done which was non-intrusive in the sense we didn't go drilling into things and then when we had got the money we knew we would need, we then started to do some intensive drilling into the foundations and we found that Splashes was built on a series of hoops and the hoops underneath were rotting through and in a poor state.
"We still could have refurbished it but all the time we would have had to keep digging away, shutting it for periods and so on, and it would have been far more expensive.
"So after we had reviewed both possible courses of action we realised it would be much better to take the opportunity to build something new, to build something modern and up to date. I think the end result will be really delightful for people."