THESE pictures are the first look at a bid to breathe new life into Portsmouth’s flagship leisure facility.
Around £3.4m has been ploughed into the regeneration of the Mountbatten Centre and five other gym sites across the city as part of a lucrative contract between BH Live and the city council.
Mike Lyons, BH Live’s director of sport and leisure, said: ‘This is a really exciting time for local residents as they will see our planned improvements taking shape during 2017.
‘We’re very much looking forward to working with the team at the venues, along with our partners and stakeholders, to make sure all of our proposed improvements enhance and improve what is already there.
‘Combined with even more activities and events that we are looking to introduce in 2017 and beyond, our aim is to ultimately encourage more people to come and get more active with us.’
Tory culture boss Councillor Linda Symes said: ‘Our new partnership with BH Live will transform Portsmouth’s leisure facilities and it is fantastic to see the first phases of this multi-million-pound vision.
‘Residents across the city will benefit from the improvements to be made and this will make a real difference in helping to get more people active, improving health outcomes and taking pressure off of NHS and adult social care services.’
A deal has been struck that will see the leisure operate, on behalf of the council, Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre, Portsmouth Tennis Centre, Eastney Swimming Pool, Wimbledon Park Sports Centre and Charter Community Sports Centre from February.
The Mountbatten is set to be first to see a series of improvements.
A trendy terrace café with a new menu, improved seating and a soft play zone for pre-school aged children is to be introduced within the first year. Additional children’s activities are being considered to boost the centre’s offer for young people and encourage greater participation in physical activity.
And fast ticket machines will be installed to assist customers, plus two new multi-purpose rooms will be created to accommodate additional activities and events.
The investment at Mountbatten forms ‘part of the social enterprise’s commitment to work with the city council to develop its sporting, leisure and event venues, broaden public services and create a more active city’.
Further plans for the council’s other sporting, leisure and event venues are still to be revealed.
The Mountbatten floodlights were switched off indefinitely last year following the death of a taxi driver on an artificial football pitch.
The council says it is arranging for a state-of-the-art lighting system to be installed. This work is due to start this year.
The new floodlights will feature LED lighting, which is cheaper to run, and include an additional backup lighting system.
That will allow varying levels of light to be used in different areas.
It is estimated that this will save around £15,000 a year in costs.