Great Yarmouth’s Marina Centre set for major refurbishment
14:52 21 August 2012
Archant © 2008
A major overhaul of Great Yarmouth’s dated town centre leisure complex is being planned to bring the popular facility into the 21st century.
Community leaders are in talks with a private firm that would invest a lump sum to transform the Marina Centre into a “top class” facility, that would include a spa, sauna and beauty treatments on top of its current health services.
The distinctive seafront building, which houses a pool, gym, indoor bowls green and games courts, is more than 30 years old and Great Yarmouth Borough Council has said it needs nearly £3m spending on it in the next four years - money the authority does not have.
But it is now in discussions and drawing up a business plan with the same company that helped overhaul the Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft, which was re-launched at the end of last year after undergoing a £6m pound refurbishment.
Trevor Wainwright, leader of the council, said the Waveney scheme - which involved demolishing the old building - had been a “huge success”.
He added: “I don’t think we would be looking to have a new build. We would be looking to revamp the Marina Centre instead to benefit the space that’s in there and bring it into a real top class leisure centre.”
The Marina Centre has been run by the Great Yarmouth Sport and Leisure Trust since March 2006 and the council said it would remain at the helm after the overhaul.
The investment company would finance and oversee the refurbishment and take care of marketing, making its return from the centre’s takings, which are expected to greatly improve once it is overhauled.
Mr Wainwright added: “The Marina Centre is an old building and it needs investment. The trust has done a really good job over the years but there’s still a huge amount of works that need to be done.
“We recently had a condition survey report commissioned, it needs about £2.8m spending on it within the next three to four years and that’s just a sticking plaster.”
He said car parking, which is scarce around the centre, would also be looked at in a bid to boost spaces for gym members and visitors.
Mr Wainwright stressed the talks were still in the early stages as draft business plans are being drawn up.