Opening of new Mildenhall gym marks first step toward community hub plans

Opening of the Gym Mildenhall by Forest Heath district councillor Warwick Hirst. ANL-150903-231104009
Opening of the Gym Mildenhall by Forest Heath district councillor Warwick Hirst. ANL-150903-231104009
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The first step in plans for a groundbreaking community hub in Mildenhall reached completion this week with the official opening of the town’s new gym.

Located in the former leisure department of Forest Heath District Council’s offices, in College Heath Road, The Gym has more equipment, new changing rooms and a purpose-built dance studio.

It was officially opened by members of the district council and Anglia Community Leisure on Monday, marking the first step in the creation of a community services hub.

Cllr Warwick Hirst, Cabinet member for health, leisure and culture, said it was an amazing transformation.

“I am delighted, when you think that this was potentially a space not to be used and it is now fulfilling a real need in the town,” he said.

“It’s a good idea and has gone down well. It’s hard to believe it was just an office block, and now it is a real success story.

“The centre in the Dome was not well used and this is more central. It’s also amazing how fast it has happened.”

Warren Smyth, chief executive of Anglia Community Leisure, which manages the gym in partnership with the district council, said it has taken on an extra 100 members in its first month.

He said: “I’m really impressed. It is excellent, better than we had anticipated. It’s a fantastic setting and publicly accessible.

“It is about including as many facilities in the town as we can, and that is set to continue subject to the Mildenhall community hub plans.”

New Techno Gym equipment is being used in the centre, including a dual adjustable pulley and free weights.

The air-conditioned dance studio will be used for a variety of exercise classes from spinning to pilates.

Nigel Snape, centre manager, said: “We are very pleased with the new gym and already our members are telling us how they are enjoying working out here.”

Cllr Hirst said the Dome Leisure Centre was likely to be phased out and the site redeveloped, with talk of a possible new sixth form college and swimming pool.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, added that the gym’s early success was evidence that the community hub plans, to bring a number of local services onto one site, work.