A new era of sport dawned on the district this week when the doors to the £25m Wycombe Leisure Centre were opened to the public.
Members of the public, eager to be the first to use the fantastic new centre, joined Wycombe District Council Chairman, Cllr Ian McEnnis, as he cut the ribbon and handed over the keys to Centre Manager Stuart Lee from centre operator Places for People Leisure at 10am on Tuesday.
Local sports clubs who played an active part in helping to shape the design and layout of the new leisure centre were also at the launch.
Opening the council-built centre, Cllr McEnnis said: “Today marks the beginning of a new era for sport in Wycombe and opens up a realm of new leisure opportunities for the residents of this district.
“This stunning new leisure centre will inspire a new generation to take up sport and encourage those who perhaps previously gave up a leisure activity to get active once again.
“Whether it’s scaling the ten metre-high climbing wall, taking a dip in the impressive 50m swimming pool or getting in shape in the 150-station gym, Wycombe Leisure Centre has something for everyone.”
The Wycombe Wanderers squad was put through its paces in the 150-station gym by manager Gareth Ainsworth and the coaching team ahead of the club’s FA Cup clash with Aston Villa at Adams Park on Saturday.
Swimmers from the Wycombe 50 Plus group took a dip in the 50m pool, while youngsters enjoyed playing in the fun new splash pad zone.
The High Wycombe Sub Aqua Club put WDC’s Corporate Director Paul Shackley through his paces in the new dive pit built in to the 50m pool.
Meanwhile, Kevin Brooks – head coach of Wycombe District Swimming Club and a member of Team GB’s London 2012 coaching team – was also on hand to run the rule over the pool area ahead of the first club night.
In the 12-court sports hall, Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Dominic Barnes, teamed up with Wycombe 50 Plus members for a game of short tennis before he put his racquet skills on display in the squash courts.
The sports hall can be used for a range of sports including badminton, football, basketball, cricket in the nets and there will also be weekly sessions for children to jump around an inflatable play area.
Both the Chairman and Leader of the Council, Cllr Katrina Wood, were given a bowling masterclass by the Handy Cross Bowls Club in their new state-of-the-art four rink bowls green.
Chief Executive Karen Satterford was the first person to scale the heights of the new 10m high climbing wall, which makes a striking impression in the open reception and cafe area.
The leisure centre is part of the council’s Handy Cross Hub development, with the first phase also including a new Waitrose supermarket – which will open in spring – and the High Wycombe Coachway, which will incorporate an improved park-and-ride service.
The coachway will open later in January with 19 National Express services taking passengers to destinations including London Victoria, Birmingham, Glasgow and Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports.
The park-and-ride relocates from its current home in Cressex to the High Wycombe Coachway in February. More details of that to follow soon.
The old Wycombe Sports Centre, which has served the district for 40 years, will be be demolished to make way for further development on the site, including offices and a hotel.
Visit Wycombe Leisure Centre for information about opening hours and membership, or phone 01494 688 100.