Plans to replace Sovereign Centre welcomed by Eastbourne

An artist's impression of how the new centre might look
An artist's impression of how the new centre might look

The blueprint for a new leisure centre to be built in the car park of the Sovereign Centre and then the original building knocked down has been welcomed by people in Eastbourne.

Last week the Herald revealed the council wants to spend £24million on a new centre at the seafront site and also replace the skatepark which was closed down amid safety fears earlier this year.

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 could get underway in May 2017 and, when it is completed, the Sovereign Centre will be demolished.

The plans look set to be approved by Eastbourne Borough Council’s decision making cabinet committee soon and in general people have welcomed the idea.

Scores of people took to Facebook to give their support.

Zig Zag wrote, “About time, it needs it. I’m not impressed with the swimming changing rooms. Gym could be better. I welcome the change and wouldn’t mind paying the fees they charge now.”

Rob Macneill wrote, “Good. I hope they build a pool with more lanes as it always gets really overcrowded.”

Kym Walters said, “I hope they add flumes too. I used to love the ones at the King Alfred Centre in Hove.

Nat O’Neill said, “About time the place is disgusting and dirty,” and Mary Frost wrote, “It’s about time, need something up to date.”

Sheggy Lindsay said, “Good, the old one is filthy,” and Darren Goddard pointed out, “It was built in 1977 almost 40 years ago. I don’t think it’s done too bad bearing in mind the population of the town has almost doubled in the last 40 years so has been trying to cater for far more people than originally expected I would think.”

Announcing the plans last week, 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 80s and is let to the Eastbourne Leisure Trust with Serco operating it.

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