Thanks a million - but ‘we’d have liked a swimming pool’ says Rasen MP

MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-180123-093658001
MP Sir Edward Leigh. EMN-180123-093658001

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has described plans for a new multi-million leisure centre as a ‘great boost for the town.’

West Lindsey District Council has confirmed the £6.3m centre should open in 2020 although a suitable site has yet to be identified.

While praising the investment, Sir Edward echoes the disappointment of many residents that the new facility will not include a swimming pool.

Sir Edward said: “I recognise the important role that sport makes to our local communities.

“It was such a disappointment when firm plans, 10 years ago, for a new facility - at that time including a swimming pool - had to be abandoned because of the financial crisis.

“Obviously, I welcome the council’s investment in a new leisure centre in Market Rasen.

“I think that a four court sports hall, changing facilities, a fitness suite, dance studio for exercise classes and an outdoor 3G pitch, will be a great boost for our town.

“However, I am very disappointed, like a number of local residents, that the council’s plans don’t include a swimming pool.”

Sir Edward said he accepted why a swimming pool had been left off the list of attractions, but did offer a ray of hope for the future.

He added: “I understand that Local Government has taken a significant reduction in funding from Central Government grants over this decade so it may not be possible to include a swimming pool at the current time. But, I think it would be folly if the new facility is not future-proofed so that a swimming pool can be developed in the future.

“I will continue to support any efforts to develop a swimming pool to serve Market Rasen and the surrounding area.”

The new centre will replace the existing facilities at both De Aston School (De Aston Sports Centre) and Caistor Yarborough Academy (Caistor Sports Hall).

WLDC confirmed the existing facilities will close on May 31, 2018.

That means residents could be without facilities until the scheduled opening of the new site in June, 2020.

WLDC’s Corporate Policy and Resources Committee has awarded the new leisure contract to Sport and Leisure Management (SLM), who trade as Everyone Active.

The decision has still to be approved by full council.

The council says it will work with Everyone Active to minimise the impact on service users whilst Market Rasen’s new centre is being built.

Kerry O’Neill, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We already enjoy a fantastic working relationship with the council and we look forward to developing this in the future and extending and enhancing leisure provision across the district. We will continue to work with the local community to offer people improved opportunities to lead healthier, more active lifestyles.”