A £3.7 million plan to expand and upgrade a popular leisure centre almost 30 years after it was built could see it closed for several months for the works to be completed.

Hambleton District Council’s Cabinet looks set to push forward a scheme to extend Thirsk and Sowerby Leisure Centre to include a 300sq m gym with 24-hour, seven days a week access, fitness studios and a roof replacement.

Issues with the roof, excessive condensation build up and unreliable plant equipment has led to recent unscheduled customer closure of the pools.

Hambleton’s Sports Facilities Strategy 2017-2035 stresses the importance of leisure centres in market towns, identifying the role gyms, indoor spaces and swimming pools play in promoting healthy lifestyles. The strategy identifies that there is an “under supply of fitness stations in the district”.

While the council says its residents tend to be more active in Hambleton than across the country, 21 per cent of residents are physically inactive, compared to 24 per cent across England, and 56.9 per cent of children are deemed “less active”, as opposed to 66.2 per cent in England.

An officers’ report to Cabinet states there are no plans increase made to the car park capacity, although improved management will be necessary to protect spaces for customers and users of the Flatts park. The report states as the works would take about 26 weeks, the centre would be closed to customers for most of that time and re-open for autumn 2021.