LEISURE centre bosses have sought to calm sports fans’ fears over a projected year of building works.

Councillors approved a £7.4m budget last Thursday (July 27) for work to go ahead providing a replacement public swimming pool in Monmouth and remodelling the town’s leisure centre facilities

Some sports hall users, including Monmouth Netball Club, said they were told last week they could no longer book their league games and club training there after October when work is set to start.

But leisure centre boss Nick Butler has confirmed that he hopes to be able to accommodate most clubs and activities in the new £415,000 temporary sports hall structure to be built before any work on the main building starts.

"We’re just clarifying everything and trying to get some more information on what we can accommodate, and hope to be in a position later this week to confirm that and take bookings again," said Mr Butler this week.

"It’s all a bit new at the moment, and we’re working as quickly as we can to see what implications there are from the closure of the current site.

"We now know that the council is going to build a temporary sports hall structure to meet the needs of the school curriculum and the community before the centre shuts for building work to begin.

"It’s all fairly positive now they have given the go ahead for the temporary hall. There may be a little bit of disruption, re-timetabling, etc, but I’m pretty confident we can continue with most of our regular bookings.

"I spoke to Monmouth Netball Club over the weekend about their concerns and have told them the temporary structure will be put in place first, probably on the adjacent tennis courts, but we just need to talk to the contractors to sort a few things out.

"The temporary hall is going to be slightly bigger than the current sports hall, so we’re hopeful that the community’s bookings will all go ahead as normal. We’ll find out more later this week, but it’s a very exciting period of change."

A message sent by the netball club last week to its 350 adult and junior players had said: "It was brought to our attention that the leisure centre will not be taking bookings indoors or outdoors from October onwards, due to the building work going on. This will have a huge impact for our club, both juniors and seniors."

Monmouth has been without a public pool since March 2016 after the old structure was pulled down to make way for the new Monmouth Comprehensive School building.

Monmouthshire’s full council last week considered four alternative strategies to building the new leisure facilities, and opted for the 700m sq temporary sports hall scheme.

The remodelled permanent leisure centre facilities are set to include a five-lane 25m pool, a 50 to 60-station fitness facility, squash courts, a large adventure play facility with a café, a small spa, sensory and toning rooms and spin and dance studios. A new sports hall will also be provided as part of the new school building.

Cllr Debby Blakeborough (Ind, Trellech) had claimed: “Monmouthshire started out with aspirations of an Olympic pool and ended up with a paddling pool.”

But deputy council leader Cllr Bob Greenland (Con, Devauden) told critics: "I have said that we weren’t going to build an Olympic or national pool – if Cllr Blakeborough wants to build a national pool, can she suggest where the money is going to come from?”

After the meeting, he added: "I am very pleased members have backed our preferred option to re-open the new pool and the leisure centre in the shortest possible time. 

"When we began this project it was simply to provide a new pool… but now we will be giving Monmouth much more than just the pool. There will be a re-modelled leisure centre with the latest facilities and equipment

"Taken together with the adjacent school, now under construction, this massive £50m plus investment for Monmouth demonstrates this council’s commitment not only to the wellbeing of our current generation, but of those for years to come.”