EXCEEDING all expectations – that is the verdict on Rugby’s new sports centre as it approaches its first anniversary.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre is attracting more than double the number of casual swimmers than its predecessor, the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre, according to a council report.
Gym visits have nearly doubled, meaning new equipment has already had to be bought and sparking speculation the gym may need to expand within the next two years if demand continues to grow.
The report, which compares figures for May 2014 with Ken Marriott numbers from May 2012 (it was closed in May 2013), shows the overall number of customers to come through the door has increased by 37 per cent.
Increases were also noted for monthly gym membership (57 per cent), event attendance (50 per cent) and Rugby Sport for the Disabled Association club visits (57 per cent).
The only negative pointed out by the report is the current free parking policy may be abandoned because the 250-space car park is often congested during peak periods, and attracts Lawrence Sheriff School pupils and St Cross Hospital patients.
The report’s author, Rugby Borough Council’s sport and recreation manager Caroline Johnson, said: “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre is a huge asset to the council, and the numbers using it are testament to its popularity.
“High quality facilities at affordable prices appear to be what the public wants from a council leisure centre.”
She added that the swimming pool had attracted enquiries to host galas from as far afield as Worcester and Leicestershire, adding about the car parking: “During the first year of operation the council is monitoring usage. It may become necessary in future to look at options for controlling parking.”
Council culture spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms told us visitor numbers had exceeded all expectations, vindicating the council’s decision to invest £12million in a new leisure centre at a time when others across the country were cutting and closing leisure facilities.
“We believed building a new leisure centre was right for Rugby and I am delighted residents have supported our ambition by visiting the centre in such great numbers.
“The council, working with operator GLL, has delivered modern, high-quality leisure facilities at affordable prices and we look forward to the centre’s continued success in years to come.”