'It looks like a doctor's surgery': £2m leisure centre revamp slammed

The planned £2m revamp of a town's sports centre "looks more like a doctor's surgery", as designs reveal the introduction...

The planned £2m revamp of a town's sports centre "looks more like a doctor's surgery", as designs reveal the introduction of treatment rooms, waiting area and office space. - Credit: Canva

The planned £2m revamp of a town's sports centre has been likened to a "doctor's surgery", as designs reveal the introduction of treatment rooms, waiting area and office space. 

As work gets under way at Brandon Leisure Centre, concerns have been raised about the upgrade, which has revealed a large area of the sports facility will have a new use.

Design for Brandon Leisure Centre's £2m upgrade.

Design for Brandon Leisure Centre's £2m upgrade. - Credit: West Suffolk Council

The £1.9m upgrade for the centre, owned by West Suffolk Council and run by Abbeycroft Leisure, was agreed in October, following a public consultation in 2018.

Design for the £2m revamp at Brandon Leisure Centre.

Design for the £2m revamp at Brandon Leisure Centre. - Credit: Saunders Boston Architects/submitted by West Suffolk Council

Designs have now shown that five treatment rooms, a waiting area and rentable office space will be included in the revamp.

Former town councillor and Brandon resident Gary Brocklehurst.

Former town councillor and Brandon resident Gary Brocklehurst. - Credit: Emily Thomson

Gary Brocklehurst, a former town councillor, said: “To me, the designs look like a doctor’s surgery. 

“I think they should stop working on it immediately and go back and ask residents what they think. They did a survey a few years ago, but they didn't reach the right people.  


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“£2m is an awful lot of money to spend on something that is not wanted."

Brandon leisure centre.

Brandon Leisure Centre. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The revamp will also include an improved cafe, relocation of the gym, a purpose-built free weights space, Shapemaster studio and better toilets and changing rooms.

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Jo Rayner, cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, said the investment was designed with "local community input" and the upgrade would provide "better and modern leisure facilities with the aim of improving health outcomes for residents".

Ms Rayner said: "It does not involve GP surgeries or primary health. The council is a member of the West Suffolk Health Alliance, which aims to deliver community health services as close as possible to service users.

"There is a strong evidence to show the link between improving residents’ health and wellbeing with being active and co-locating health practitioners with leisure facilities."

She said the space for rent was being offered to "healthcare professionals", and added: "Brandon Leisure Centre retains its current sport, fitness and club activities and facilities."

Brandon Town Councillor Sam Skinner. Photo: Sam Skinner

Brandon Town Councillor and vice chairman Sam Skinner. - Credit: Sam Skinner

At Brandon’s full town council meeting, held on Monday December 14,  vice-chairman Sam Skinner said West Suffolk councillors were asked for a breakdown of the £2m cost. 

He added: “It’s a lot of money and I would like to see how the £2m is allocated, because at the moment nobody knows. 

“The leisure is one of our main assets, it's central to Brandon, it’s a good facility but it’s not being used to its full potential."

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