A firm with ‘extensive experience’ in designing new-build leisure facilities has been appointed to review the Seven Towers Leisure Centre.
The move follows complaints over the condition of the current facility at Trostan Avenue, which has prompted calls for the construction of a new recreational hub in Ballymena.
At a meeting of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on September 5, councillors received a report on a strategic review of the existing facility.
Chief Executive Ann Donaghy told elected members that there had been a number of requests for information regarding the building of a new leisure centre, particularly from MLAs.
“Councillors directed officers to carry out, quite a number of months ago, a full review of the existing Seven Towers Leisure facilities in relation to the future options which is at a very advanced level of conclusion,” she said.
According to the council report, the architectural company’s first meeting with leisure and maintenance staff occurred on July 26, and “extensive survey work” was completed during August.
“There are a number of issues which need to be addressed to ensure the leisure provision offered is at the standard expected by ratepayers and users,” the report continued.
“The feasibility study will identify a number of options for council and it will then be important that these matters are considered in terms of the best value for the local ratepayers, financial affordability/impact on ratepayers versus the need to provide a facility which meets the needs and expectations of users and the need to motivate and encourage greater leisure use within an increasing obesogenic generation.”
Regarding the financial implications of the survey for council, the report highlights the potential expenditure of repairing the existing facility versus the cost of a new build.
Noting that users have raised concern about the current state of the leisure centre building, the report also emphasised the need to “ensure the best long term option is identified for council to ensure best value for further expenditure and best location for such a facility within the overall asset portfolio.”
Councillors agreed that Mrs Donaghy should prepare a press release on the issue, and liaise with group party leaders in the council in relation to MLAs’ requests for information.