Deeping St James leisure centre refurbishment approved

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Deepings Leisure CentreImage source, LDRS
Image caption,
The building was judged past its "operational life" in a report earlier this year

Plans to refurbish a leisure centre in Lincolnshire which had been earmarked for closure have been approved by councillors.

South Kesteven District Council agreed to the £10.7m scheme for the Deepings Leisure Centre in Deeping St James.

The 47-year-old centre was closed temporarily in July after heavy rain caused significant damage.

The council initially planned to make that closure permanent, but reversed its decision after protests.

The proposals include the reconfiguration of the main pool, a new gym, new studios and a refurbishment of the sports hall.

Barry Dobson, portfolio holder for leisure, told an extraordinary meeting of the council it would be a "significant investment" for the authority.

He added it would also be necessary for the council to reconsider its spending priorities to make provision for the impact of borrowing money, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The facility has been managed by South Kesteven District Council since it was built in 1974, while the building and land is owned by Lincolnshire County Council.

Mr Dobson said progress was being made in discussions about the council gaining a legal interest in the existing building.

'Broken promises'

The temporary closure of the centre took place on 27 July after a building survey revealed a new roof was needed to make the building safe and watertight.

This was followed by a council report recommending the building was past its "operational life" and should close.

This prompted a petition calling for it to be saved, which collected over 8,500 signatures, prompting the council to explore other options.

Speaking in favour of the £10.7m plan, Independent councillor Paul Fellows said: "We owe it to the people of South Kesteven and the Deepings to pursue this project."

However, Independent councillor Phil Dilks said residents had been promised a new-build centre costing £20m and had been let down.

That cash, he added, never made it into the council's financial plan.

"There have been broken promises. The people we seek to serve really do deserve better," he said.

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