Thousands come through centre’s doors

Centre manager Katie Cottrell in the new sports hall
Centre manager Katie Cottrell in the new sports hall

A controversial leisure centre is proving popular with fitness fanatics, with nearly 9,000 people through its doors in its first three months.

Desborough’s new £1.6m leisure centre, off Ironwood Avenue, in the town, opened its doors on May 8, admist local anger, as it replaced the town’s Hawthons leisure centre, which community groups put up a fight to keep open.

From May to July this year, 9,086 people have used the centre’s facilities – an 11 per cent inrease from the same period in 2011 when the centre was at the Hawthorns.

Kate Cottrell, centre manager, said: “I think things have gone really well since we’ve openeed.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from visitors and we held an open weekend in May which was really well-attended and showed residents what we offer.

“I haven’t heard a negative comment and people have liked our facilities.

“People have been waiting a long time for it to open, especially those on the new estate.”

She also added that the badminton courts, gym, and play areas had already proved popular.

Gym membership in July stood at 272 – the centre’s highest number for 16 months.

It opened up as part of the Grange estate in the town.

The centre’s staff have also revealed they are working on a football pitch at the back of the building for Desborough Town Juniors FC, but this will not be ready until next year.

Seeding will go down on that patch of grass soon for the pitch.

The centre has seen increased bookings in martial arts and football at the weekend, with its multi use games area – where people can play the likes of tennis and football – also proving popular.

Spin classes will also be available fron next month.

Kettering Council owns the building, with Parkwood Leisure taking on the running of the centre.

It was scheduled to open at the turn of the year, but this was delayed until late spring due to paperwork.

Pia Bellamy, community services manager at Kettering Council, said: “We are very pleased with the overall usage of the centre.

“It offers a lot of facilities where people can socialise and keep healthy and fit and the play area has also been busy.”