Leisure centre building work to start next year

Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.
Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.

Work on the new £30 million ‘super’ leisure centre at Craigavon Lakes is earmarked to start some time next year, ABC Council has revealed.

The centre was originally meant to have been completed last year - replacing the three existing centres, including Cascades in Portadown.

A council spokesperson said the scheme was still a priority, despite the delays.

She added, “Members are currently examining the range of provision to be included in the new South Lake Leisure Centre to ensure that it meets the needs of the new council area as well as the adjacent Southern Regional College (SRC) development.”

Plans for the SRC college on the lakes site are also continuing apace, with a planning application just lodged for the demolition of the Banbridge campus building.

The £90 million overall plan will see the Portadown and Lurgan campuses being merged on a new-build site at the lakes, while Armagh and Banbridge will have new campuses developed on their existing sites.

A representative of Southern Regional College said it will be having a full press launch soon when more information will be revealed in relation to the new builds.

Both the leisure centre and college are mentioned in a wide-ranging local development plan, which went before the council’s planning committee this Wednesday, and gives an overview of open space, recreation and leisure provision in the council area and proposed land use to 2030.

It said both developments ‘will contain open space elements that could potentially provide a significant amount of playing fields/recreation lands’ which could help address any potential shortfall in the number of sports pitches in the area.

The local development plan also includes details of opportunity recommendations for Portadown town centre as outlined by the Craigavon Integrated Development Framework (CIDF).

It says the council’s Riverside Project will open a range of opportunities and be a focus for development along the River Bann.

The main points include the need for improved connections between the town centre, People’s Park and the communities beyond, and the need for the town to ‘properly address one of its key assets, the River Bann’.