Multi-million pound new Eastbourne leisure centre gets the green light

The new development would replace the Sovereign Centre
The new development would replace the Sovereign Centre

A £24.5 million new swimming pool and leisure complex to replace the Sovereign Centre has been backed by councillors.

The development got the green light at Eastbourne Borough Council’s cabinet meeting last night (Tuesday, December 13).

The leisure centre will boast three swimming pools, including a fun pool and wave machine, a 1200m² trampoline park, 130 station gymnasium and clip‘n’climb zone.

Additionally, the project team is looking at the viability of a FlowRider which, if built, would be the only one of its kind in the south east of England.

A FlowRider shoots jets of water at high speed onto a surface designed to create an artificial wave – the sport is hugely popular with people who enjoy riding waves on various types of surfboard.

It is hoped the construction of the new centre will start in December 2017 once planning approval is secured and the procurement of a building contractor is completed.

Councillor David Tutt, leader of the Council, said, “This project has got people talking and genuinely excited.

“The old Sovereign Centre was opened in the 1970s and has given generations of local people terrific memories of learning to swim, keeping fit and the popular wave machine.

“Inevitably, over 40 years of heavy duty use has taken its toll, so Eastbourne Borough Council will invest in a new swimming and leisure venue that includes all the modern and high-tech leisure facilities that residents will enjoy using.

“We’ll also be discussing the plans with local groups that use the Sovereign Centre and considering their views in the work to finalise the design.”

The Sovereign Centre will remain open during the construction to ensure local people and visitors can continue to use the facilities. Only when the new complex opens in late 2019 will the old centre be demolished.

The budget for the development also includes £200,000 to replace the hugely popular skate park that is situated adjacent to the existing centre.

Councillor Tutt added, “I’m delighted that within this project we have also provided funding for the opening of a new and improved skate park alongside the new leisure complex.

“Having been contacted by countless numbers of parents and young people in Eastbourne about the future of the skate park, I know this news will be very well received.”