By Ian Dipple 17/02 Updated: 17/02 13:26
IT HAS been 15 years in the making but Redditch's revamped Abbey Stadium finally opened to the public this week.
Although the centre was open last week to schools and other invited groups to uncover any teething problems and give more time to train staff, the £6.5million centre finally began welcoming the public fully on Monday (February 13).
And the centre is already experiencing a surge in demand with most of the 38 classes, ranging from pilates to body pump, already oversubscribed prompting a move from the new dance studio to the sports hall. Up to 400 people also signed up for membership of the newly refurbished Springs Fitness gym in December alone.
Richard Boyd, Redditch Borough Council's business operations manager, said: "It has been very well received. There have been a couple of minor issues on the technical side with pool plant operation and pool water temperature but that is why we had a soft opening week and why we aren't running a full launched programme until later this month so we can iron out those issues.
"It has been so well received we have been surprised how popular it has been, it is fantastic for us and we are looking to expand and develop on it as well."
Advantages of the new centre include the 25 metre pool and seating area which will allow swimming galas to be held in Redditch. As well as standard disabled changing facilities, a separate room is also available equipped with specialist kit for severely disabled users, in addition to family and group changing rooms for use by schools and clubs. About 100 pieces of new equipment have also been installed in the gym, there is a dance studio and a private firm has been brought in to offer massages and other beauty treatments.
Mr Boyd added: "I think this can become one of the biggest leisure facilities in the area. What we have always done before, being Redditch based, is concentrate on marketing and developing it for members of the Redditch community, and while that remains our priority, sitting on this side of the town, with a fantastically extended facility we have the ability to tap into the South Birmingham side and make this one of the biggest and best facilities in Worcestershire, if not some of the West Midlands as well."
A ceremony is being held on Monday (February 20) to officially open the new complex.
A DODGY salesman offering mattresses from the back
A REDDITCH woman has scooped a £1,000 business
RESIDENTS are being urged to send their personal
RETAIL guru Mary Portas could be called in
A BROMSGROVE Standard delivery girl from Rubery has fought off ...
PEOPLE of all ages can 'Make Do and Mend' this ...
BUSINESS leaders believe the arrival of Stratford Parkway train station ...