Upgrades worth £12 million are coming to Leamington and Warwick’s two major leisure centres after councillors approved the plans on Tuesday July 19.
Newbold Comyn’s centre will now more than double in size, and St Nicholas Park’s leisure centre will be extended.
Warwick District Council’s planning committee unanimously approved both expansions with virtually no debating, despite objections about the planned unisex changing facilities at Newbold and the loss of parking space at St Nics.
There was some unrest from the public gallery, with a woman asking “can I ask a question?” when it appeared councillors were about to approve the plans.
She was rebuffed by planning chairman Cllr John Cooke, who told her she had to register to speak before the meeting to ask any questions of the council.
Once the plans were approved, a man shouted: “Disgraceful”, and the woman who called out before then shouted: “How many of you go to the leisure centres every week like we do?” prompting the pair to be escorted out.
Newbold Comyn’s plans include a 100-station gym, two fitness studios, changing areas, a four-court sports hall, a climbing wall and three new multi-use rooms.
The 18-space car park will also be moved to the other side of the path as the fitness studios will encroach onto the current site.
Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem, Crown), said: “People have been waiting since the early nineties for this.”
The plans for St Nicholas are slightly smaller than at Newbold Comyn. The building’s size will be increased with a two-storey extension, and a new foyer, wet and dry changing areas and a spinning studio will be built.
It will allow for activities shared across Myton School sports hall to be moved to one site, but will result in a loss of parking and some of the surrounding trees.
Cllr Martyn Ashford (Con, Aylesford) said: “The design fits the bill for a lot of leisure centres today. Overall this is a good design and fit for the future.”
The work on both centres will be carried out over the next 18 months, and during that time the swimming pools in both centres will be briefly closed. St Nics’ pool will close the end of 2016 and Newbold’s will close in early 2017.
Out of the £12 million put aside for the plans, £5 million will go to Newbold Comyn, £3 million to St Nics, and the rest will be used for repairs and upgrades.
A private management company will run the centres once the work is completed.