Beds, Herts & Bucks

Delayed £26m Luton Sports Village centre set to open

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Media captionThe Inspire sport village is one of only 11 in the country

A £26m leisure centre in Bedfordshire, due to be completed before the Olympics, will now open this month.

Construction of the Inspire Luton Sports Village in Stopsley was delayed by five weeks after three sub-contractors went into administration.

The facility, which opens to the public on 20 August, features a 50m swimming pool, a 20m community pool, sports hall, cafe and 100-station gym.

The project was funded from income the council gets from Luton Airport.

The centre in Butterfield Green Road took 22 months to complete and replaces three other facilities in the town which the council said would have required "substantial investment" to bring them up to modern standards.

Wardown Swimming and Leisure Centre closed in May 2012 and the Luton Regional Sports Centre and Puttridge Recreation Centre will close in August.

'Fantastic investment'

Other features at the new centre include a 10m diving facility in the main eight-lane swimming pool, while the five-lane community pool has a moveable floor to enable a range of classes to take place, from special needs and baby groups to aqua aerobics.

Deputy Leader of Luton Borough Council Sian Timoney said: "It is absolutely money well spent if it inspires youngsters to get fit, get active and take part in physical exercise.

"It is not just about becoming an elite athlete, it is something that everybody can enjoy.

"Yes, we are in a recession but if we had continued with the old sites they would have cost more and more as time went on, so I think this is a fantastic investment."

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