Backing is given to create better centre

The Arun Leisure Centre
The Arun Leisure Centre

STRONG backing for investment in a Felpham leisure centre has been given by councillors.

They have unanimously agreed the need to provide a modern and fit for purpose facility at the Arun Leisure Centre. This will include investment in the centre’s outdoor artificial pitch for football.

The decision by Arun District Council’s cabinet on Monday will be confirmed by all members at a full council meeting on March 20.

Paul Dendle, the councillor in charge of environmental services, said: “This work should definitely happen.

“The artificial pitch has long needed to be improved. It would be a good investment of council taxpayers’ money.”

The recommended changes also include the changing, gym and exercise areas. The council will need to work with the centre’s operator, currently Inspire Leisure, to achieve the improvements.

Their leisure consultant, David Geddes, said this could be done by re-tendering the management contract for a longer term to enable the operator to secure funding against the cost of the work. He also wanted the council to give an assurance it would discuss the improvements with the centre’s users.

“Felpham is the right place for a leisure centre for the western side of the district,” said Mr Geddes.

“But, both it and the sports centre in Littlehampton, are tired, inadequate and too expensive to run as a result.”

The comments of Mr Geddes that the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor Regis should be the district’s prime performing venue were also backed by the cabinet. But the decision, with an increase in capacity from 430-450 seats, is subject to the St Modwen regeneration scheme for the Regis Centre.

A new foyer and atrium to alter the centre’s look and new restaurants and bars overlooking the sea will also be subject to St Modwen.

Mr Geddes repeated his call for major investment for Bognor seafront even without the sale of Swansea Gardens to fund it.

“I’d no need to be nasty about Bognor but, as often happens, it’s not had enough investment and it starts to look tired. This is a real chance to get on and make some investment.