A £2.5MILLION investment package has been revealed to revamp leisure facilities in Castle Point.

The ageing Waterside Farm leisure centre, on Canvey, which previously faced closure, will benefit from a £1.3million injection to extend its life by up to 30 years.

Runnymede Pool, in Thundersley, will also get a major refurbishment.

The council will also allow weddings at the Paddocks community halls on Canvey and Runnymede Hall, both of which will have more than £100,000 spent on them.

One of Canvey’s two seawater paddling pools will be forced to close over health and safety concerns, but the council is to investigate bringing in new sand to improve the beach in the area.

Tory council leader Pam Challis said: “We are very, very pleased to be able to announce the refurbishment of these facilities.

“It’s extremely good news and it’s going to be very exciting for the public.”

Funding for refurbishment of the Paddocks and Runnymede Hall will come from the council’s reserves.

Improvements to Waterside will be paid for with cash raised from the sale of council assets, while the council plans to take out a loan to pay for the work at Runnymede Pool.

Money earmarked to be spent on Runnymede Hall in the current budget can then be diverted to pay for work on the paddling pools.

A review will also be launched into the prices the council charges for leisure activities or hiring out a hall to maximise income. Jeffrey Stanley, Tory councillor responsible for finance, admitted this could mean some price increases.

He said: “If the halls are made into a nicer standard, we will be able to charge a higher price and encourage more people to come and use them.”

Councillors voted to approve the measures at a meeting of the cabinet.

They were given the option of doing the minimum repairs necessary to keep the facilities open or carrying out all the necessary repairs in one go to improve them and extend their lifespans.

Speaking at the meeting Mr Stanley added: “Improving Waterside is not actually that much more money than is required to keep the building open.

“It makes sense for us to go further than the basic requirements.”