Ely’s new leisure centre – which will be called The Hive to reflect the area’s Fen heritage – is causing a major buzz at East Cambridgeshire District Council.
Councillor David Ambrose-Smith, who chairs the community services committee, announced today that The Hive is on track to open next year.
“This is a really exciting project for the whole of East Cambs as well as the city of Ely. The addition of the leisure centre to the new leisure village broadens the options for people to visit the area.”
Once completed, the centre will include an eight-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, a learner pool with moveable floor, a 120 station gym floor, two activity studios and a four-court sports hall.
Outside there will be a 3G artificial turf pitch.
The Hive, named to reflect the area’s Fenland heritage and the active nature of the building, is next to the Ely Outdoor Sports Association and is phase two of the Ely Leisure Village.
Construction began in March, with work now focusing on the internal structure and making the building watertight this autumn.
Mayor of Ely and district councillor Richard Hobbs said: “Having supported and championed the development of the new leisure centre, I am thrilled that the construction of the new facility is steaming ahead and I am pleased to announce that it will be called The Hive.”
Eel catching on the River Ouse dates as far back as pre-Norman times and these eels were commonly caught using baskets made of willow called hives.
An eel hive made from willow has been planted in Cherry Hill Park and forms part of the Eel Trail around the city.
Mr Hobbs said: “We are confident that the centre will be a hive of activity – a place that is full of people who are very busy, somewhere where there are lots of activities taking place at the same time.”
Construction of the centre is being carried out by contractor Pellikaan.
Project director Corné Van Mook said: “With the final design elements being nearly completed and construction works progressing well on site, we are in a good position to complete the project on time in Spring 2018.
“We are working with reliable consultants and subcontractors to ensure a quality project will be delivered that everyone can and will be proud of for many years to come.”
The project has been funded by East Cambridgeshire District Council with the help of a £1.5m lottery award from the Sport England Strategic Facilities Fund.
Charles Johnston, Sport England’s property director, said: “Tackling inactivity is a major priority of our new strategy which is why we are pleased to be able to support the development of Ely Leisure Centre. When complete these exciting new multi–sport facilities will encourage more people to lead healthier and more active lifestyles.
“The Lottery funding we’ve given will allow sport and physical activity to become an accessible option for even more people while those already active and playing sport will enjoy a better experience when the centre opens in 2018.”
When the centre opens it will be managed by GLL, a large leisure trust, operating over 200 leisure facilities across the country, on behalf of East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The existing Paradise Pools will close, although the Paradise Centre will remain.