RENOWNED Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle officially opened the brand new Runnymede Leisure Centre and its state-of-the-art facilities.

Castle Point Council has invested £1million in sporting facilities to expand Runnymede Pool, in Kiln Road, Benfleet, and provide modern gym facilities.

The gym includes one of the UK’s first bespoke HD athletic free weights rigs for multi-use workouts alongside machines for cardio, strength and fitness exercise. There are even touch screens on some of the equipment which allows users to access Netflix, Facebook and virtual running routes.

The gym will also feature a dedicated spinning room with a wall-mounted screen capable of uploading virtual routes, a studio for hire, a new cafe, remodelled toilets and refurbished changing rooms.

Councillor Jeffrey Stanley, deputy leader of the council, said: “Increasing fitness and exercise is an important part of dealing with some of the health issues facing Castle Point residents.

“We hope that by opening the gym and retaining the Runnymede swimming pool we are contributing to a fitter and healthier lifestyle for residents. The building of the Runnymede Leisure Centre is an important project for Castle Point Council showing casing what can be achieved when the public and private sector works together.”

Councillor Stanley thanked all those involved in making sure the project was delivered on time particularly those who gave up their Christmas break to help.

The facility will be open to the public today. Membership is from £31 per month.