Beds, Herts & Bucks

Dunstable £20m leisure centre reopens without its pool

Dunstable Centre Image copyright Central Bedfordshire Council
Image caption The renovated Dunstable Leisure Centre is now called The Dunstable Centre

A leisure centre costing £20.1m has finally opened after months of delay, but without a working swimming pool.

Dunstable Leisure Centre closed in June 2017 and was set to reopen last winter, but it was pushed back to June.

The new building, called The Dunstable Centre, includes a gym, leisure facilities, a creche, cafe, Citizens Advice offices and the town's library.

But work to re-glue the pool's tiles continues after they were given the wrong adhesive.

It is due to open by the end of the year. The cost of the delays are being met by the building contractor.

Image copyright Central Bedfordshire Council
Image caption Over the past few weeks books from the old library have been moved across
Image copyright Central Bedfordshire Council
Image caption The new cafe is "bigger" than the old one, said the council

Some people in the Bedfordshire town have told the BBC they have been unhappy about the setbacks.

Vicki Batterbury questioned the cost of the delays, while Karen King said: "When the pool will be ready?"

However, resident Shazia Shah was more positive, saying: "My 75-year-old mum is very excited about joining the gym. This place will really improve the quality of her life."

Conservative councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said: "By bringing all these services together under one roof, this fantastic new building will reduce running costs while providing more flexible services and longer opening hours."

Image caption Dunstable Library in Vernon Place opened in February 1967 and closed on 22 December

A spokeswoman for the builder, Wates Construction, thanked residents for their patience for the "unforeseen delays".

The old Dunstable Library building will be demolished, the council confirmed, but a date has not been set.

Image caption Dunstable Leisure was due to open last winter, but was beset by delays

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