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Leisure centre re-vamp starts

Refurbishment beginning at Swallows Leisure Centre, Sittingbourne.
Refurbishment beginning at Swallows Leisure Centre, Sittingbourne.

Work has begun on the £500,000 improvements to The Swallows Leisure Centre. Chief reporter Nicola Forman and photographer Andy Payton were taken on a tour to see how work is progressing.

More than £500,000 is being invested in the makeover of the Swallows Leisure Centre and work is well on target to be completed in time for the school holidays.
The old changing rooms, showers and lockers have been ripped out and new pipework worth £50,000 is being installed and the flume area is closed off while it is updated.
Earlier this year, councillors agreed to invest almost £500,000 in the town’s leisure centre. It was agreed that £250,000 would be released from the council’s capital and the rest would come from contractors Serco Leisure over the next 15 years.
Serco Leisure marketing manager Ceri Mason said: “We have listened to what the public want and intend to make sure they get what they want.
“All these improvements will just bring back the fun to the leisure centre and make it a much more enjoyable experience.”
There will be new water features in the main pool with an interactive pirate ship, racing slides and a new and improved wave machine.
The new family changing area is being installed. This will include major works to the water supply to the changing area to ensure the showers run at an even pressure and temperature. There will also be new disabled changing facilities and improved access to the main pool hall which includes new railings. The centre has also responded to concerns from people about the lack of private changing facilities.
Ms Mason said: “People using the swimming pool are currently sharing the changing rooms at the dry side but people had complained that there weren’t any private cubicles, so we rescued the old ones from the skip and put them together in an old storage cupboard. It’s not ideal but it’s for just six weeks and I hope people will be patient with us.”
A huge launch party is planned to officially open the new-look centre.
The leisure centre will remain open throughout the project, with the gym and sports hall programmes being unaffected and minor disruption to the swimming timetable.

Facts and figures

Swallows Leisure Centre opened in 1989
It sees 500,000 customers a year, plus visitors to events
The centre was last refurbished in 2004
The gym, dance studio, health suite, dry change and cafe were improved at the time, along with behind-the-scenes work on plant and equipment
The poolside has not been upgraded since opening
Other facilities include a fitness suite, 15-metre pool, health suite, sports hall, six badminton courts, two squash courts and creche facilities

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