South Scotland

Revamped Dumfries leisure centre enjoys membership surge

DG One
Image caption Repairs to the centre have cost more than the original construction

A leisure centre which cost more to repair than it did to build has seen a membership surge since it reopened.

The council-run DG1 site in Dumfries closed in October 2014 and finally returned to operation on 15 July.

During the closure the council offered temporary gym and swimming pool facilities in the town.

However, since the leisure centre reopened it has seen more than 900 new memberships taken out in the space of its first month.

Gym and swimming pool usage figures have also run into thousands.

Image caption The centre was closed for repairs for nearly five years

At one stage, while the temporary facilities were on offer, membership levels had fallen below 400.

A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed the full scale of the decline.

The building - which cost about £17m to construct - first opened to the public in 2008 but problems quickly emerged.

They eventually forced its complete closure in October 2014 for an overhaul which cost more than £20m.

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Elaine Murray said: "I'm delighted so see that DG1 has been so busy in its first month and that so many people have joined me in taking out a membership.

"DG1 is a first-class facility and customers using DG1 over its first month of operation have mostly been very impressed with it."

Image caption Some problems have been experienced with bookings at peak times

However, the popularity of the refurbished facility has caused some problems.

"Obviously, with a venue such this there will be some operational issues, particularly when demand has been so high," said a council spokesman.

"We're aware that there have been some booking issues during busy peak times. We're working to resolve these as soon as possible."

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