A PROGRAMME of work to improve facilities at three sports centres across Leicester has been put forward.
Leicester City Council is planning to invest a total of £1.94million at Spence Street Leisure Centre, Braunstone Leisure Centre and Aylestone Leisure Centre.
The gyms at Spence Street and Braunstone will be expanded and upgraded, while the entrance area and studios at Aylestone Leisure Centre will also be improved.
In addition, the city council has secured funding of £213,000 from the Government’s Salix scheme, to pay for energy reduction measures at Spence Street, which will be undertaken at the same time. New solar panels, efficient LED lighting a new insulated roof will be installed as part of the work.
A formal decision on the investment will be made on October 27. Work would begin the new year and be completed by summer 2022.
Under the plans, nearly £1million will be invested on extensive improvements at Spence Street, where the current gym and sports hall buildings are in poor condition.
The work includes refurbishing and increasing the gym capacity, as well as creating a new studio, new toilets and changing area and installing more secure access. Refurbishing and expanding the gym to 60 or 70 stations would enable 500 more members to use it, increasing income by about £144,000 a year.
The gym at Braunstone Leisure Centre will be extended into the first floor and ground floor areas, forming a 90-station gym, with the existing office hub on the site relocating to Aylestone, in a major scheme costing nearly £630,000.
Around £314,000 will be spent remodelling Aylestone Leisure Centre’s reception area to include better secure access, while the venue’s ancillary hall will be turned into a dedicated group exercise studio.
The combined works at Aylestone and Braunstone Leisure Centre, coupled with the council’s ongoing work to encourage more participation, would increase income by £132,000 a year.
The improvements are the part of the city council’s ongoing Active Leicester programme designed to get more people across the city taking part in a range of sports and physical activity at its seven council-run leisure centres.
Back in 2018, £2.8million was approved for upgrades and modernisation works which have since been carried out at Aylestone, Cossington and Evington leisure centres.
Although the Covid-19 lockdowns meant visitors numbers to sports centres across the city fell by about 35 percent, the impact was less in those sports centres where work had been done to improve facilities and encourage community engagement through a combination of public health, sports and wellbeing initiatives.
Attendance figures at sports centres nationally are expected to return to 80 percent of pre-Covid levels by 2022, coinciding with the completion date of the latest improvement works.
Leicester deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “The city’s leisure centres offer some excellent sports facilities, which in many cases are a lifeline to members who rely on them for regular exercise sessions.
“The improvement works done in the previous phase increased attendance and membership, and although the lockdown restrictions over the last 18 months or so had a big impact, we are now seeing attendance numbers rising once again.
“Through the Active Leicester initiative, we are working hard to encourage more people to take part in regular sport and exercise – something which is all the more important after so many of us have experienced months of inactivity through lockdown.
“By carrying out this latest modernisation work on three more of our leisure centres, we can ensure that they are up to the standards needed to attract and retain visitors as they return once more, and to accommodate more visitors in better-equipped surroundings.”
Full details of all the city council’s sports and leisure facilities are available at: www.leicester.gov.uk/sports