Leisure centre to be revamped 19.01.11
Westcroft Leisure Centre is set to receive a major refurbishment in a bid to bring it up to date.
Sutton Council's Executive yesterday (Tuesday 18 January) agreed for the Carshalton centre to be renovated under a £10.8 million scheme after hearing that the 34-year-old building was nearing the end of its useful life.
It came after a condition report revealed the council would have to spend more than £4 million over the coming years just to keep it running even if the revamp did not go ahead.
The report said the building's electrical and mechanical engineering services would need replacing, while short term problems identified included leaky flat roofs, un insulated walls, severe water penetration into the basement and the structural deterioration of some columns and floors due to long term leakage of chlorinated water.
Westcroft, which was built and opened in 1977, is the largest of the borough's four leisure centres, with 600,000 users visiting every year. It is the council's major income earner, bringing in more than £2 million per year.
Cllr Graham Tope, Executive Member for Community Safety, Leisure and Libraries at Sutton Council, said: "This is a necessary and prudent investment to protect one of Sutton's key assets. Much of the equipment there is at, or even past, its sell-by date. Spending millions just to keep it going does not make sense.
"We have to think very carefully about spending money in the current financial climate but doing nothing in this case is not an option. The money we make from Westcroft will go down and down if we do not update the facilities.
"It is more than 30 years since the centre opened and the proposed investment will save us millions of pounds in the long run because it will mean far cheaper running costs, will generate more income and there will be a series of energy saving measures."
The revamp will include a new eight lane 25m competition-standard swimming pool, a bigger teaching pool, an eight badminton court-sized sports hall, six massage and treatment rooms, two dance studios and a 170 workout station gym.
The building, which will incorporate the latest sustainable technology, will also house a creche, cafe, IT facilities, and a new library replacing the current Carshalton library.
The new library will have longer opening hours and it is hoped will treble the number of visitors, as well as save the council £23,000 a year.
Cllr Tope said: "The current library is costing us more and more to maintain. Relocating it half a mile down the road will enable us to provide modern library services and help us offer some of the longest library opening hours in the country.
"The Friends of Carshalton Library told me they would fight tooth and nail against any closure plans but they are right behind this proposal."
The revamp will see the centre closed for around 12 months from July this year. There are three other leisure centres in the borough: Cheam, Sutton Arena and the Phoenix Centre.
Last updated: Thursday, 29 November 2012