Council to decide on £20m demolition of leisure centre

The Robinson Centre was closed by the new Belfast supercouncil
The Robinson Centre was closed by the new Belfast supercouncil

Politicians have recommended a leisure centre be demolished and rebuilt, at a cost estimated to be up to £20m.

The proposal was made by members of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources committee on Friday, but must still be ratified by a meeting of the full council on June 1.

The centre – which includes a pool and gym – is currently closed for health reasons.

It contains “significant levels” of asbestos and the bacteria legionella.

Refurbishing it would cost roughly £5m.

When asked why they are not opting for the cheaper option, chairman of the committee Declan Boyle (SDLP, Botanic) said: “It’s a bit like refurbishing a 25-year-old car. You’d still have a 25-year-old car.”

He said that if they refurbished they could be in a position in 15 years where they still have to knock it down, but it would cost even more.

There is no definitive location earmarked for the new centre, he added.

The council said in a statement: “A new centre for the area will represent a significant enhancement in the leisure facilities available in the future.

“We will be talking to local residents about what is planned.”

There is also an ongoing row over who is ultimately responsible for the centre.

When Belfast’s boundary changes came into effect in April,control of it transferred from Castlereagh Borough Council to Belfast City Council.

A judicial review of this decision is due to take place in September.