COUNCILLORS have vowed to make significant investments into improving facilities by bringing in a major leisure operator.

Loddon Valley and Bulmershe Leisure Centre will be transformed following a new 15-year partnership with Places for People Leisure.

Wokingham Borough Council expects the old and expensive Bulmershe facilities to be overhauled with a modern centre, including a six-lane swimming pool.

The current centre, which was built in the 1970s, has become tired and is in desperate need of investment to bring it up to the required standard.

Councillor Norman Jorgensen, executive member for Sport and Leisure, said: “The new contract should bring unprecedented benefits to the Wokingham Borough. 

“It will help us to increase and improve our leisure offer by providing residents with affordable leisure activities and high quality, self-funding facilities, as well as help us to strengthen the council’s financial position.

“It is great that at a time when other local authorities are being forced to look at closing centres, we are instead looking to expand and improve existing facilities and open new ones. 

“This is all despite an unprecedented reduction in our revenue support grant from central government.”

Plans are already in place to upgrade Carnival Pool and St Crispin’s Sport Centre.

Ryeish Leisure Centre is being refurbished with a state-of-the-art fitness suite, dance studio, and full size 3G pitch ahead of its reopening this summer.

Obesity levels among primary school children are lower in Wokingham Borough compared to the rest of Berkshire.

However, the partnership is expected to bring a wide range of benefits, with easy-to-access facilities throughout.

Sandra Dodd, chief executive at Places for People Leisure, added: “We are delighted to be appointed as the council’s leisure partner. 

“As a social enterprise, we aim to enhance opportunities for all members of the local communities we serve to adopt more active and healthier lifestyles.

“Over the coming years we are looking forward to working in partnership with the council to invest within the facilities and ensure that we provide inspirational places for people to take part in physical activity.”