A major £2.5 million refurbishment for Cricklade Leisure Centre has taken a key step forward with the construction contract formally awarded.

The leisure centre is set to benefit from a raft of upgrades, with the project set to transform the centre and ensure its long-term sustainability.

Upgrades include the extension of the fitness suite in size by 70 percent, the creation of a purpose-built fitness studio, an improved pool hall, refurbished and expanded wet changing facilities, improvements to the toilet provision and decoration to the building.

Following a competitive tender process, the contract for the redevelopment of the centre has been awarded to regionally based main contractor Bray & Slaughter.

Bray and Slaughter has been established since 1900 and have a proven track record of successful delivery with Wiltshire Council.

The project will take at least a year to complete and the centre will remain operational, with work being completed in phases.

While disruption is inevitable, everyone will be working to minimise impact on customers and provide as much continuity to services as possible.

Once a start date for works has been agreed members and the local community will be updated. It is anticipated the contractor will be on-site by the end of this year.

Cricklade Town Council and Wiltshire Council have also entered into an agreement for the asset transfer of the centre, Ockwells and Waylands car park.

Agreements were also signed with Cricklade and District Community Association, who will continue to operate the leisure centre. The proposals mean the centre will be run locally.

Wiltshire Council, Cricklade Town Council, and Cricklade & District Community Association have all been working with the design team to develop the scheme that should ensure a vibrant future for the facility.

It is being delivered and funded by Wiltshire Council, but with the ongoing support of the operational team and Cricklade Town Council. Once the project is complete Cricklade & District Association will continue to operate the centre, but ownership will be transferred to Cricklade Town Council.

Allison Bucknell, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for communities and leisure, said: “This is exciting news for Cricklade and the surrounding area. We have a good track record of enhancing our existing leisure facilities and this work, in collaboration with our partners, will offer so much to the local community. Importantly, It will also be run and owned locally and therefore ideally placed to meet the needs of the community.”

Nick Dye, chairman of Cricklade and District Community Association, said: “This is wonderful news and a great reward for the local community. As a group of volunteers, we took over the centre nearly 13 years ago, and have provided a vital service to our users. Our staff have supported the centre despite of some of the issues caused by a dated building. This investment from Wiltshire Council will ensure leisure services will continue in Cricklade for many years to come.”

Mark Clarke, chairman of Cricklade Town Council added: “We welcome the investment by Wiltshire Council to bring the leisure centre up to modern standards. It is a vital asset to the town, it was built by the community in the 1970’s and it was rescued by the community from possible closure in 2007. Cricklade is fortunate in having such a dedicated team of volunteers and staff to manage and run the facility, and the town council looks forward to working with them as the project progresses. I invite all residents to get involved by becoming members so that we can all participate in the next chapter of this success story.”