Portsmouth councillors react to plans for £2.5m makeover of Pyramids leisure centre
COUNCILLORS from different parties have branded the loss of the popular swimming pool at the Pyramids centre 'a blow' - but are keen to see what its future holds.
Today Portsmouth City Council announced it is set to spend £2.5m on regenerating the Southsea venue - including a soft play and trampolines facility in place of the pool as well as a new gym and studios.
Labour Cllr Judith Smyth, who represents the St Jude ward where the centre is based, said: This is a good way to ensure the Pyramids will do well over the next eight to 10 years,' she said.
'I look forward to having a leading leisure centre and facilities in Southsea and I hope this will encourage children and young people - and people with special needs and disabilities - to use the site and enjoy the activities on offer.'
Group leader of the Progressive Portsmouth People, Cllr Claire Udy, agreed. 'As a lifelong user of the Pyramids through swimming and gigging it's a given that I am quite sad to see the end of a Portsmouth institution,' she said.
'I am very impressed with the plans and think it'll be ever so popular. I have been assured about the swimming provision in the south of the city so I am satisfied.'
However, Tory councillor Luke Stubbs, who represents the neighbouring Eastney and Craneswater ward, had concerns. He said: 'It would be a real blow to lose it.
'There are already numerous private sector gyms and so while gaining a larger gym is a positive, it's not that much of a positive. This is an iconic seafront site and it really needs something that is unique and which will pull people in.'
As part of the proposals it is also planned £350,000 will be invested into either the swimming pool at Eastney or new swimming facilities.
Cllr Stubbs added: 'As for the Eastney baths, my party has put forward budget amendments for a refurbishment, but we need to be realistic: it will never be anything other than a small pool catering to a small part of the population.
'A bit of a tidy-up is not enough to replace the Pyramids.'
It is thought work to transform the ground floor of the Pyramids will begin this autumn.