A battle to halt development of a new £40 million Kingston leisure centre has flopped as residents voted to give it the green light.
The controversial decision to knock down Kingston ‘s Kingfisher Leisure Centre last year led to a petition which has nearly 4,000 signatures – and saw a councillor resign from his party.
The leisure centre has been closed since December 2019 due to structural problems with the roof.
Instead of fixing the roof, the building will be replaced completely, with the council saying it is “the most sensible decision financially”.
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Kingston Council has finished its latest part of its local feedback on the plans and said there was “overwhelming support for the scheme” out of the 1,500 respondents.
Over 75 per cent of locals “felt the centre would provide a right mix of facilities for everyone to enjoy”.
(Image: Supplied by Kingston Council)
Resident Caroline Shah, who has actively opposed the bulldozing of the site, wrote in her petition: “We urge Kingston Council not to demolish the Kingfisher Leisure Centre without a guaranteed and legally-binding commitment to replace the existing facilities at the Kingfisher within a specified time frame with facilities that meet national policy guidelines.
“We demand a fully-costed analysis of the repairs needed to make the Kingfisher economically viable and a cost breakdown for a new leisure centre meeting policy requirements – including details of how such a centre would be funded – before any decision is made by the council to demolish the Kingfisher.
“We insist that residents have a say over whether the Kingfisher is repaired or demolished when the above information has been made available.”
The new leisure centre will include two pools, a splash deck, a soft play area, sports facilities and a clip and climb wall. The council is working on designs with architects Faulkner Browns.
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Councillor Andreas Kirsch, leader of Kingston Council, said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in our third phase of engagement on our exciting plans for a new community leisure facility and public space in Kingston.
“We are really grateful for all of the feedback and the insightful comments we received.
“More than 75 per cent of you who responded felt the centre would provide a right mix of facilities for everyone to enjoy.
“Throughout the engagement we have received around 6,000 survey responses, spoken with hundreds of people through events and received many emails, calls and comments from local people.
“We are now reviewing all your feedback and will use this as we finalise the designs ahead of submitting a planning application.”