Kingston’s Kingfisher Leisure Centre will likely be knocked down and replaced by a new leisure centre on the site opening autumn 2024, Kingston Council announced on October 21.
The leisure centre has been closed since December 2019 for “urgent repairs” which exposed structural problems with the roof of the building.
Councillor Caroline Kerr, leader of Kingston Council, said: “We know how important the Kingfisher Leisure Centre is to everyone who uses it and we are 100 per cent committed to having a pool on this site.”
Instead of spending £5m to repair the roof, Kingston Council has decided to invest in a new leisure centre.
Kerr said: “We hope this exciting new development will attract more people to Kingston and give the town a welcome boost.”
Meet the needs of the community
Resident Mary Brannelly said she hoped the council would create a facility which meets the needs of the community.
She said: “I’m hopeful that Kingston will get a community local leisure centre that doesn’t outprice the community, and I would very much support this.
“However, having lost faith in the openness and honesty of Kingston Council recently, I am dubious that this proposal is not telling the whole truth and will be a large corporate leisure facility that most cannot afford.”
Updates on the status of the leisure centre and Council’s plans had been absent, which caused residents to share their frustrations.
Campaigner Bob Tyler set up a petition to uncover the truth and said: “As a borough that is already so poorly served in terms of leisure facilities, we cannot allow the same fate at the Kingfisher.”
‘Well worth the wait’
The new leisure centre is intended to be open by the end of October 2024.
Councillor Rebekah Moll said: “I know that the Kingfisher continuing to be closed is a disappointment for many, but as a local mum, I’m excited that Lib Dems have committed to a new swimming pool that will not only benefit my children, but generations to come.
“Any option to reopen the pool will take a number of years, but the additional few months needed to deliver a brand new complex will be well worth the wait.”
However, Conservative councillor Kevin Davis expressed concerns about the lack of facilities in the borough.
“If we have to wait till 2025 without a swimming pool that will be catastrophic for the health of both young and old residents,” he said.
The plans will be heard, at the Council Response and Recovery Committee, on October 29.