South West Wales

Afan Lido: £13m Aberavon seafront complex gets go-ahead

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Media captionThe new centre will have an eight-lane swimming pool, sports hall and cafe

Work on a £13m replacement for a leisure complex which was destroyed in a fire more than four years ago could start by the end of April.

Neath Port Talbot council's scrutiny committee met to approve the new complex on Aberavon seafront before the cabinet unanimously voted in favour.

The old Afan Lido was wrecked by fire in 2009 and demolished in 2011.

The replacement includes an eight-lane pool, cafe, fitness centre, dance studio and sports hall.

"It's the final stage of a long process but one we're very pleased to see moving now," said the council's chief executive Steve Phillips. "It has been important to take the community with us on this. What we've got now is a consensus with the community and a facility that's fit for the 21st Century."

He added: "It's not going to be cheap but we think it represents value for money. This council is determined to continue investing in our leisure facilities in our regeneration programme despite the budgetary constraints that we face."

The local authority said last week the overall budget for the project - which features a "wave roof" to reflect its seafront location - had increased by £232,000.

The original Afan Lido was opened in 1965 by the Queen, and its first manager was Graham Jenkins, the brother of the late Hollywood star Richard Burton.

In its early days the venue hosted major concerts by Spencer Davis and Pink Floyd and in recent years Coldplay and McFly.

More than 2,600 people took part in a Neath Port Talbot council consultation on replacing the facility.

Although many said they would like to see an identical rebuild, the council said just keeping the old lido going was costing £700,000 a year.

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