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£2million will be spent revamping old pool
4:00pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in Local News
Wickford swimming pool, built in the 1960s, will be transformed to include a new hi-tech gym and fitness suite after Basildon Council officers thrashed out a financial agreement.
The council hopes the plans, first mooted nine years ago as part of the doomed Wickford masterplan, will start by the end of the year, with the project completed by the end of summer 2014. Malcolm Buckley, Basildon councillor responsible for regeneration, said: “This project will play a major role in breathing new life into Wickford while delivering on our promise of transforming our borough.
“It is unusual in these cash strapped days for councils to invest in leisure facilities, but these things really matter “If we are to really create opportunities for local people, as we have pledged, then we must make our town centres places where local people, and families in particular, want to be.”
The project will include new changing facilities for swimmers.
The council also outlined its intentions for new toilets in the heart of the town, which will be free to use and could be open by the spring.
In March, the council set aside up to £1million in its budget to invest in Wickford, and a proportion of that cash will be pumped into the pool improvements.
The council insists the remainder of the £2million is budgeted for, but could not be specific on where it would coming from.
Mr Buckley has previously said land in Radwinter Avenue, Wickford, will be sold to developers to help finance the package of improvements.
The council claims the pool, in Market Avenue, will remain open during the work, but last month Mr Buckley said the pool may need to be closed.
The centre’s current operators, SLM, will continue to oversee the running of the pool.
David Harrison, vice-chairman of Wickford Action Group, said: “The pool has been a priority and has needed a revamp and we were promised this nine years ago, but it is good to see work looking like it will start.
“We are, however, interested in how these changes will be financed.”
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