New leisure facility to be built next to ‘tired’ Sovereign Centre

An artists's impression of how the new centre might look SUS-161124-110405001
An artists's impression of how the new centre might look SUS-161124-110405001

A new multi-million pound leisure centre looks set to be built in the car park of the existing Sovereign Centre on Eastbourne seafront.

An ambitious blueprint for a state of the art centre costing £24million looks set to be approved by Eastbourne Borough Council at a meeting in December.

Included in the new building is a gym, six lane pool, a fun pool, learner pool, a sports hall, trampoline hall and the first Flowrider in the south east where surfers ride on artificial waves.

Building work on the new facility is set to get underway in May 2017 and, when it is completed, the Sovereign Centre will be demolished.

The plan comes after months of consultation with users groups including Eastbourne Swimming Club and voluntary lifeguards and the council says it is a better alternative to spending millions revamping the Sovereign Centre which was built in the 1970s and is “looking tired”.

David Tutt, the leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, which subsidises the centre to the tune of almost £350,000 each year, said a new facility would be good for residents and visitors.

“The Sovereign Centre is looking tired and it needs to be refreshed,” said Councillor Tutt.

“We could have revamped it but it would have meant closing for substantial periods of time, or build something sparkling and new.

“That is what we want to do and we are looking at providing something that is new and incorporates ideas in funpool technology.”

The original Leisure Pool was opened in the 1970s with a large extension added in the 1980s and is let to the Eastbourne Leisure Trust which appointed Serco to operate it. The lease and contracts run out in April 2019.

The ELT says it is very optimistic about the opportunity for a new facility to replace the existing building but has concerns over the current design.