Council set to spend £1.5m to refurbish Portsmouth’s Pyramids Centre

AN INJECTION of £1.5m is set to bring about the 'much-needed' regeneration of a Southsea leisure centre.

Wednesday, 30th January 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 9:59 pm
The Pyramids Centre in Southsea could receive a 1.5m boost for refurbishment

As part of Portsmouth City Council's latest budget proposals the cash has been earmarked for work on the Pyramids Centre to improve pool, gym and changing facilities - and install new flumes.

It is hoped the upgrade will reduce maintenance costs in the future, which last year cost the council more than £440,000.

Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's head of leisure, explained why the plans were in place. 'Much of the maintenance cost for previous years has been for essential work, such as the replacement of the fire alarm along with upgrades to the "behind the scenes" pool equipment,' he said.

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'The proposed investment will now allow us to upgrade the facilities in the centre that customers will be able to see for themselves.

'The current flumes and floor tiling in the changing rooms have been in place since the 1980s and require constant maintenance, so by replacing them we'll cut down on day-to-day costs and provide a much better experience for visitors.

'We'll also be extending the existing health and fitness suite to provide more space for classes and equipment.'

The centre's operators, BH Live, came under fire recently after a fault with  monitoring pH levels in the water led the pool to close for almost a week.

But former councillor and leisure boss, Linda Symes, praised the work the group had done. She said: 'When BH Live took over running the centre they made membership much more affordable and basically doubled the number of members. This not only brings more money in but promotes a more healthy lifestyle in the city.

'It's great that the council could be giving £1.5m to the Pyramids. I fully support it.'

The centre was forced to close for months in 2014 after it was flooded by seawater.

Linda added: 'The only thing I would ask is do they know for definite what is happening with the sea defences there?'

But head of environment, Cllr Dave Ashmore, said: 'The new sea defences by the Pyramids will massively reduce the risk of the flooding incidents that have occurred previously, which will allow us to invest in the facilities there with confidence.

'The footprint of the new defences won't affect the Pyramids site itself, which means that any upgrades or work that we want to carry out there in future could still go ahead.'

Funds for the centre need to go for approval at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday before a final decision at the next full council on February 12.