Leisure bonus for Suffolk town

A NEW centre for dance, fitness and leisure could be heading to Hadleigh, it emerged today.studio and meeting room.

A NEW centre for dance, fitness and leisure could be heading to Hadleigh, it emerged today.

A £21,000 report, commissioned by Babergh District Council, will explore the possibility of creating a new leisure focal-point in the town which could include a fitness suite, dance studio and meeting room.

Another £8,000 report will look at the structure of the town's current swimming pool after recent spiralling cost estimates for a new pool left the project virtually dead-in-the-water.

David Grutchfield, Hadleigh town councillor, said he was excited at the prospect of the new centre and was still optimistic that the old pool could be salvaged.

He said: “The costs of the new pool reaching £7.2m means that is almost certainly not going to happen.

“But it is great that Babergh is looking into a leisure facility, which would be next door to the current swimming pool.

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“I would like to see a leisure centre and think it would be good for the town. We are a deprived area and we are expanding in population so we need more facilities.

“And if the study shows the current swimming pool tank is of a satisfactory standard it could easily last another ten or 16 years.

“There are ways for getting grants for leisure facilities that aren't available to swimming pools so it could help to have a leisure centre attached.”

If the structural assessment finds the swimming pool tank is likely to have a life-expectancy of ten years or more another study, costing £16,000, may be undertaken to establish the cost of refurbishing the facility.

However, if it finds it is unlikely to last ten years the council would consider shutting it completely.

Councillor Nick Ridley, chairman of the council's strategy committee said: “The aim of these two studies is to establish once and for all a comprehensive blueprint for the future of Hadleigh's leisure facilities.”

n Would you like to see a new leisure centre in Hadleigh? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

n See page 25 for the latest news on play facilities in Babergh.