LETTER: Demolition is unnecessary

Looking at the outline plan for a new leisure centre [Herald, December 23] I am unconvinced the proposed improvements really are significant.

The really big issue for users of the wet-side facilities in the current building is cleanliness. The mixing of outdoor and indoor foot traffic combined with an inadequate cleaning regime results in filthy floors.

The solution is walk through changing cubicles with footbaths and showers on pool entry, a feature of Centre Parcs for example.

The proposed new build layout does not address this problem and if constructed as shown, we would have more of the same. Were this single improvement to be carried out now the public perception of the Sovereign Centre would change for the better. A modest single-storey extension and remodelling the changing area is all that would be required.

Similarly, extensions could be added for the Flow Rider and Clip and Climb. The existing sports hall could be adapted for trampolining, some refurbishment of the catering and toilet facilities and there you have it, a superb updated sports and leisure centre at a fraction of the cost of the new proposal.

No demolition of a valuable asset, no exclusion of diving and no ripping up the car park. True, some phasing would be required and there would be a necessary debate about the role of elite sport and Olympic ambitions in the municipal facilities of EBC. Better than an estimated debt of £24.2m to be serviced by future generations?

BOB WATTS

Vancouver Road

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