THE FIRST look inside the new £14.5million leisure centre in Woodley has come in the form of photographs published online.

The sports centre, which has been worked on since March this year and is being built on the site of the former centre, is having its first floor decorated, with details on the door frames and screens now being fitted.

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Pictures show a six-lane 25 metre pool, as well as the changing rooms, are in the process of being tiled. The pool's moveable accessible lift is on its way.

The new centre will also have its own teaching pool with a moveable floor, a bigger gym plus a long-term condition 'live well' gym, a four-court sports hall, an additional studio and a cafe. Toilets and lockers are also in the process of being fixed in, ceilings put up in all areas, all the lights being installed and the template for the reception desk getting fitted in.

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Wokingham Borough Council has stated that the Leisure Centre 'benefits the whole community by providing up-to-date, accessible and flexible facilities, as well as preventative health services'.

Cllr Bill Soane, Wokingham Borough Mayor, said: "Every time I visit, there is something new and exciting being installed.

"Watching this new centre come to life is a pleasure and I cannot wait for our local residents to see it, use it, and enjoy all that it will offer."

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However, some members of the public seem to have reservations around the new build. When the last update was announced as the roof was finally fully installed, one person commented on the story: "A nice new leisure centre, but will pensioners be able to afford to use it, or those on low incomes or benefits?"

Further grudges were displayed earlier on this year, when Arthur Hill Swimming Pool campaigner Peter Burt offered a £50 bet, to be paid to the charity of the winner’s choice, that construction of the new East Reading pool will not have begun before Wokingham Borough Council’s Bulmershe Leisure Centre opens. The wager was rejected by councillor Graeme Hoskin, lead Member for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, who said ‘it would be a close call.’

The Leisure Centre is meant to be fully operational and open to the public by late 2020.