Sevenoaks benefits from £1 million Leisure Centre makeover

The official opening of the new gym and studio at Sevenoaks Leisure Centre

New and existing members have been enjoying the relaunched gym and fitness facilities at Sevenoaks Leisure Centre, which were officially unveiled on Wednesday 26th September by the Mayor of Sevenoaks, Cllr Roderick Hogarth.

The £1 million investment was undertaken during a five-month build and designed to meet demand from the local community with upgraded gym equipment and an extended timetable and choice of group fitness classes. The centre has seen a 20 per-cent increase in all-in-one memberships since the facilities opened earlier this year.

Sir Michael Fallon MP joined Cllr Hogarth at the leisure centre along with Sevenoaks District Council Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming OBE, SDC Chairman Cllr Pat Bosley, Sevenoaks Town Council Chief Executive Linda Larter, plus local councillors Michelle Lowe and Andrew Eyre.

Sir Michael commented: “We have been tempted today to use some of the new equipment. This is a significant investment in our community and I would like to congratulate Sencio, the Town Council and the District Council for creating the partnership that made this possible, and for giving us this top-notch, £1 million high-quality fitness centre. There is a clear demand in the community for these facilities, but I also hope that it will be more than just a fitness centre.”

He continued to say: “We have heard a lot in the last few months about the local plan, and are we going to build houses here or wherever, but it’s also about the neighbourhood, the community, and people living alone or being socially restricted. This is about getting them back to interacting with other members of the public whilst driving up their own fitness. So I see this as a great community vessel and I congratulate all those involved.”

David Raynor, one of the centre’s newest customers, says: “The gym is so welcoming. The trainers are terrific and keen to encourage and support you. You’ll increase your confidence, the atmosphere is very sociable, and exercise is great for us physically, mentally and socially.”

As part of the refurbishment there is a new suite of cardio equipment utilising the latest technology for fitness tracking and entertainment. There are new strength machines as well as a new dedicated free weights area, and the exercise timetable has been expanded following the addition of a multi-purpose room allowing for a whole range of activities, including new classes. In addition, the revised layout has created more space together with new changing facilities.

Sevenoaks District Council Leader, Cllr Peter Fleming, is on the clock with the Sevenoaks Mayor, Cllr Roderick Hogarth

The centre has also taken delivery of an Outrace fitness rig that allows for individual exercise or those wishing to workout with friends or a personal trainer.

Jane Parish, Sencio Community Leisure’s chief executive, says: “The demand for our facilities continues to grow and we’ve known for some time it’s one we’ve not always been able to accommodate. This major investment has delivered a whole range of improvements designed to make our fitness offering one of the best in the area when it comes to services, equipment and value for money.

“We have serious issues in this country linked to obesity, anxiety and depression, and an older demographic that can feel isolated. Sencio exists for the benefit of the local community and we hope these new facilities will appeal to many people, whether they come to us for sports training, general fitness, rehabilitation after illness or injury, or gentle exercise while expanding their social network.”

As part of the refurbishment works, Sevenoaks Town Council contributed £95,000 following a community consultation exercise.

81-year-old Gym member Blanche Smith shows Cllr Peter Fleming the ropes at the Leisure Centre opening on Wednesday

“In 2013 we consulted more than 40 local sports clubs as part of our Neighbourhood Plan Development, this consultation led to the creation of the Sevenoaks Sports Strategy,” says Linda Larter.

“One of the outcomes from the strategy was a decision to invest £95,000 into the town’s leisure centre, alongside other projects including a new 3G football pitch at Greatness Recreation Ground. This has resulted in impressive new gym and fitness facilities which will greatly improve the sports and leisure offering for the residents of Sevenoaks Town both now and for the future.”