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Parts of The Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne reopen after storm damage

Engineers are still investigating how long it will take to repair the roof of a leisure centre after it was torn off during a storm.

The Swallows, in Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, was shut on February 9 when Storm Ciara sent metal debris flying.

Part of the damaged roof
Part of the damaged roof

It meant the whole complex and its car park had to stay closed until yesterday morning, when parts of it were reopened.

These included the soft play and indoor climbing area, the Rebecca Kent dance school area, the Health Studio and the weights gym area.

Central House, which is used by Age UK, and houses the offices of the Swale Community and Voluntary Services, the Avenue Theatre, and Richwell Accounts, is back in use.

However the pool, sports hall, café, the cardio gym area, all studios, changing rooms, offices, main entrance, and reception area remain closed.

Craig King, contract manager for Swale Community Leisure (SCL) – the trust that manages the centre – said these would stay shut until it could be "confident of customer and staff safety".

He added: "We are awaiting an update from a roofing company and structural engineer.

Firefighters cordoned off the area around The Swallows leisure centre after the storm damaged the roof
Firefighters cordoned off the area around The Swallows leisure centre after the storm damaged the roof

"We will provide further updates as they happen and contact members via email and calls about the arrangements we have made regarding their membership."

Mr King also thanked leisure centre users for their patience.

Yesterday, the trust said it would be a few days before an intensive investigation of the roof was completed.

At that stage, it added, it will be possible to give a more accurate indication as to when the rest of the centre will reopen.

It comes after the trust had said it was expecting the pool to be "out of action for a number of weeks".

While the closures remain in place, members are being advised to use the Sheppey Leisure Complex pool and gym.

When asked if people would be reimbursed for memberships if they were unable to use the facilities in Sittingbourne, the trust said customers would be contacted once the extent of the disruption had been ascertained.

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne


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