New Somerset leisure centre officially welcomes first visitors

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New Somerset leisure centre officially welcomes first visitors

Opening photo credit: Daniel Mumby

This week South Somerset District Council cut the ribbon on the newly built Chard Leisure Centre, officially celebrating the opening of South Somerset’s latest and most extensive leisure development.

The facility was officially opened by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Matthew Clay, a former member of Chard swimming Club.

Built as part of The Chard Regeneration Project with an investment of £16.5 million, the new leisure centre will support active, healthy lives through the provision of a wide range of leisure facilities for all walks of life from families and seniors to competing athletes and casual gym-goers or swimmers.

Dan Bennett, property and development project manager at South Somerset District Council, said: “It is fantastic to see the derelict Boden Mill site transformed into a thriving activity hub right in the heart of the community. In addition to serving those who live and work in Chard, the facility is expected to attract footfall from neighbouring towns and villages, helping to drive the local economy.

The two storey leisure centre, which occupies circ. 2,000 square metres, incorporates a 25 metre swimming pool and separate training pool with wet facilities served by a dedicated, spacious changing village; an indoor Adventure Play Area, a fully equipped  gym, a fitness studio, a group cycling studio, plus a lounge and café. The site has excellent accessibility, including a Changing Places facility, ensuring as many people can benefit from this significant investment in community provision.

Procured and delivered via the UK Leisure Framework – managed by Denbighshire Leisure Ltd,  the project has been delivered by Alliance Leisure, supported by building contractor, Speller Metcalfe.  Julia Goddard, senior development manager at Alliance Leisure, said: “Thanks to the dedication of our trusted supply chain we have tackled any pandemic induced challenges head on and succeeded in delivering this project on time and under budget.  The new centre is truly stunning and is perfectly placed to become the heartbeat of the community, offering the local population a safe, inspiring place to relax, meet friends and get active.”

Works began on the build in December 2019 following several public consultations and will be managed by Freedom Leisure which is also contracted to manage three additional sites on behalf of South Somerset District Council – Wincanton Sports Centre, Goldenstones Leisure Centre and Westlands Sports & Fitness Centre in Yeovil.

Speaking about the build, Mark Hudgeon, regional director at Speller Metcalfe said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to hand over the keys to Chard Leisure Centre, which we know will provide both fantastic facilities and employment opportunities for local residents and visitors to the area.

“Together the project team has worked tirelessly throughout the build – even with the challenge of a global pandemic – and we are extremely proud to see it open to the public.”

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