‘Sky trail’ set to be built at Derbyshire leisure centre

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Plans for a 10-metre high climbing course at West Park Leisure Centre in Long Eaton are set for approval.

The “sky trail” would be built on an area of grass bordering the car park and main entrance to the leisure centre, in Wilsthorpe Road.

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It would involve two levels of circuits in which people would walk on narrow beams, holding onto a series of ropes for support, and on moving obstacles such as swings and small platforms.

Erewash Borough Council is set to decide on the plans on Wednesday, May 29. Planning officers have recommended that they are approved.

The plans appear to be the first step in hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of investment to come forward from the private company, Parkwood Leisure, which now manages all five of Erewash Borough Council’s leisure facilities.

Parkwood’s partner company Legacy Leisure has submitted the climbing equipment plans.

A 2.4-metre tall security fence would be built around the base of the proposed open-air climbing equipment to protect it from vandals.

The equipment would be 9.7 metres tall, 9.8 metres wide and 20 metres long.

A new path leading from the leisure centre across the grass to the start of the “sky trail” is also proposed.

Council officers wrote in a report: “The proposed development will provide a welcome addition to the already comprehensive sporting and leisure facilities available at the park and leisure centre which will encourage physical activity leading to health and well-being benefits.

“The proposal would positively contribute to the vitality and viability of the park and would attract and retain custom for the leisure centre.”

A controversial agreement to hand over the running of the council’s five centres, which includes West Park, to Parkwood Leisure, was sealed in November. The formal switch will take place in February.

More than £1 million will be invested in the centres as part of the deal, which will see a Parkwood run them on behalf of the council for up to 15 years.

Parkwood is footing the bill for half of these improvements and will have a loan from the council for the other half-a-million pounds.

The proposed investment is to include an expansion and improvement of gym facilities, improvements to the customer retail and vending offer, installation of new gym, spin and weightlifting equipment, and the provision of a number of new activities across all five sites.

It is thought that the transfer will save the council £6 million over the course of the 10-year contract which has an option of a five-year extension.