Bid for national funding for £25m leisure centre project
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Talks are taking place with national sports bodies to try to secure millions of pounds in grants towards a new £25million sports centre.
The project for Felixstowe would be part of a new 2,000-home garden neighbourhood development on the edge of the resort and would provide a major attraction to bring more visitors to the seaside.
East Suffolk Council (ESC) is prepared to use borrowing to generate most of the cash for the project, but the closure and redevelopment of the Brackenbury Sports Centre site with housing - up to 80 homes could be built there - and a new use for the seafront leisure centre site will bring in extra funds.
In addition, ESC is talking to major sports organisations about grant opportunities.
Letitia Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for communities, leisure and tourism, said: "Plans for the leisure centre have been produced up to RIBA stage 2 and are currently being reviewed by Sport England for comments.
"Officers have met with Sport England and are working with the Sports Consultancy to try and secure funding of between £1.5m to £2.5m towards the project.
"Officers have also met with The Football Foundation who have indicated a possible grant towards the third generation (3G) football pitch of £500,000."
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The new leisure centre - to be built as part of the North Felixstowe Garden Neighbourhood (NFGN) stretching from the Grove woodland off Gulpher Road to the dock spur roundabout - will include a 25m swimming pool, learner pool, six-court sports hall, 100-station gym, two dance studios, a spin studio, sauna, steam room, cafe and full-sized 3G football pitch. The aim is to open in 2024.
The council says the aim is to bring a single destination facility to the town, which will service the community and attract people from further afield. A report said that the council "wishes to exploit the potential tourism opportunity that a new leisure centre could bring, using the centre as a 'gateway' for further activities within Felixstowe".
Meanwhile, other issues are being resolved. Following concern over the future of indoor bowls - not catered for in the design brief for the new sports centre - this will move to the former Deben High School sports hall in Garrison Lane, while the school grounds will become a cricket hub as part of the Felixstowe Sports Hubs plan.