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People can influence what happens at new leisure centres

Plans for better leisure facilities across South Kesteven are not ‘set in stone’ and can change if the public wants them to.

And they will also have a much greater focus on health and well-being rather than just leisure.

Council leader Matthew Lee made the comments as councillors last week voted to approve a report calling for further inquiries into enhanced leisure facilities across the district, which could cost cost tens of millions of pounds.

TIM GEORGE (7587610)
TIM GEORGE (7587610)

South Kesteven District Council has announced plans for new leisure centres in Stamford and the Deepings, an extended centre in Bourne, and a possible new centre in Grantham town centre as part of a wider regeneration project.

Coun Lee (Con-Stamford St Mary’s) told SKDC’s cabinet that the council was open to more public consultation, when he was asked by Deepings Independent Ashley Baxter if plans are ‘set in stone’.

Coun Baxter called the plans ‘fantastic’ and said the Deepings had a thriving swimming club and the suggested 25m pool would not be big enough.

Coun Lee replied: “We have committed to a 25m pool but all of this has not been finalised and could be changed. It all depends on what communities want and a proper business case.”

Labour group leader Phil Dilks also welcomed the plans. He noted they came just before the May 2 council elections and said. “It was promised by your predecessor and your predecessor’s predecessor.”

The Deepings councillor called for a membership system so locals felt the Deepings centre belonged to them and also raised the need for other sports to have services, saying the Deepings Rugby Club needed a new home.

Coun Lee said he would work with the rugby club and others and he too wanted people to feel they owned the new facilities. He also pledged to deliver the facilities, if returned as councillor and council leader.

Earlier, Coun Lee spoke of ‘enormous demand’ for new facilities.

“There are large issues around public health, both physical and mental. This is very much a changing landscape for how authorities deal with health and well-being.”

He also said: “What people sometimes see as a leisure centre, that model has moved on. This is really about health services, health and well-being. You could call them health and well-being centres. I look forward to discussing this with the NHS and other providers who could co-locate into these centres.”

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