First look at designs for seafront's new £26m leisure and water complex
PUBLISHED: 16:21 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 07 March 2019
Glazing, light, and opening up the seafront are said to be the main drivers for a new water and leisure complex on Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile.
The Marina Centre has long been derided by some as out-of-date, a huge swathe of wall casting long shadows over the resort’s main family beach.
But new designs released today are challenging its presence as a physical block with a “bright and sleek” vision built around an open walkway linking prom and beach.
If all goes to Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s plan the wrecking ball will swing into action in the autumn and in the centre’s place will rise a new building half the size of the old over two storeys.
Glass and light were billed as the main selling points at the launch with the building careful not to put the town’s best asset - the beach - in the shade while providing what the public wanted - and more specifically what they were willing to pay for.
At the heart of the vision is an indoor water complex, probably the only one of its kind in Norfolk, featuring a six-lane pool, learner pool with moveable floor, and splash pad activity centre.
There will be two flumes winding very visibly on the outside of the building - one for a single rider, and one for two.
Downstairs the site will be split into a wet and dry side with a four-court sports hall.
A central glass tower will hold a climbing wall.
Upstairs there will be a gym and fitness studios, with an outdoor terrace with sea views and a chance to watch the sun come up while doing tai chi.
The number of parking spaces will double to 200.
An exhibition showcasing the designs opened at the Marina Centre and at Gorleston Library today.
Sheila French was among the first to fill in a questionnaire.
The 57-year-old from Gorleston said she had used the centre since it opened in the 1980s.
She said: “I think it’s really amazing and a very positive step for Great Yarmouth. People need to keep active and this is a sure fire way for them to do that.
Christine France, 71, from Yarmouth, said she was sad the council had not managed to make room for the bowls club or Retroskate but said: “I think it will look very nice when it is done.”
Meanwhile Gareth Brookes who runs a guest house near the seafront said he liked the “modern and light” look.
His only concern was making it more accessible to tourists who might want to use the gym while on holiday.
One woman raised concerns about what people were going to do for the two years the build was taking place.
The council’s alternative pool is at the Phoenix in Bradwell, which was too far for her, she said.
Senior council director Kate Watts said the project had been four years in the making.
She said: “In 2015 we started thinking about renovating the building as it was in need of a lot of investment. When we started to look at the costs they were significant.
“They would only extend the life of the centre for ten years so we asked ‘Is there not a better way?”
“In 2016 the decision was made to build a brand new centre.
“We did a lot of work thinking about the facility mix. We looked at what other council’s had built, the costs, and the income.
“In 2017 we agreed the facilities mix.
“In December we made the decision to build the new centre on the marina site.”
The estimated cost is up to £26m, funded by borrowing.
How to have your say
At the launch council members Carl Smith and Trevor Wainwright hailed the plans as “very ambitious”.
They encouraged everyone to take part in the engagement stressing that the designs on show were artists impressions and could change depending on what people said.
The feedback form also asks people for their suggestions for a name.
The exhibition will be on for two weeks with staffed drop-ins at the Marina Centre 11-3pm today, 11-7pm on Thursday and 11-7pm on Thursday March 14 at Gorleston library.