Funding sought for �1.1m community gym plan at Chatteris college

A 50-STATION community gym and exercise studio costing around �1.1million could be built at the Cromwell Community College in Chatteris.

Fenland District Council’s Cabinet is being recommended on Thursday to allocate �600,000 of funding for the project within its 2011-2012 capital programme. Chatteris is the only Fenland town without a council-run leisure centre.

A report says: “Fenland’s leisure centres provide some excellent facilities and in recent years have been developed to improve customer satisfaction and footfall. For some time there has been dissatisfaction in Chatteris that the council does not provide a leisure facility.”

Commitment to the leisure scheme needs to be given by funding partners before the end of the year to allow more detailed planning to take place. Chatteris Town Council has already agreed to allocate �500,000 in principle to the scheme.

The district and town councils have been working towards a phased improvement programme with partners to develop the college as a base for better sports facilities for the community.

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An all weather pitch project is already underway with completion due in June 2011. The town council is funding �500,000, the Football Foundation �400,000 and the district council �123,000, as well as providing land for a new access road to the college.

Phase two will include the gym with reception and changing areas alinged with the Building Schools for the Future investment programme to benefit from economies of build, and phase three is the allocation of space on the college site to enable a swimming pool to be built at a later date.

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In addition, council leader Alan Melton has announced a commitment of �1.5m to improve leisure facilities in Chatteris and has asked partners to identify match funding opportunities.

Leisure advisors asked to develop a business plan for a gym facility in Chatteris concluded it should be attached to the college, linked with the BSF programme and used to broaden the college curriculum. The business plan for a gym and exercise studio in Chatteris shows that it could generate a small revenue surplus.

The only gym facility in Chatteris at the moment is the council’s mobile gym that visits twice weekly.

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