WYRE Forest’s new multi-million pound leisure centre officially opened its doors to residents this morning (July 6).

Construction of the £11.9 million centre started in June last year and now the modern, energy efficient centre has been completed on time and to budget.

The centre was opened on Wednesday morning by Wyre Forest District Council leader, Councillor Marcus Hart, and the leisure centre’s newest recruit – their dog mascot – who can be named by residents in a competition run by Places for People Leisure.

The new state-of-the-art centre includes a six-lane 25m swimming pool, learner pool, dance studios, sports hall, climbing wall, fitness suite and small outdoor football pitches.

The six-lane pool will be fully accessible for disabled people and has been specifically designed to provide easy access. There will also be a poolside lifting platform for ambulant and disabled users.

A café with viewing facilities, a children’s play area, a health suite equipped with a sauna and steam room and free parking is also available at the site – which is located at the former British Sugar site at Silverwoods.

Councillor Marcus Hart, said the new leisure centre is exactly what Wyre Forest needs.

Cllr Hart said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the new leisure centre. It is just what the district needs.

“We set out to offer fantastic sporting and leisure opportunities for all residents and that is what we have achieved.

“It is a wonderful asset to the district.”

Places for People Leisure (PfPL) won the contract to design, build, operate and manage the centre, while Sport England also awarded the district council £2 million in lottery funds towards the centre.

It is expected the new centre will save Wyre Forest District Council in excess of £500,000 a year.

Peter Kirkham, development director from PfPL, said: “Places for People is delighted that Wyre Forest Leisure Centre has opened as planned.

“The project has been the result of a great team effort led by Wyre Forest District Council and with our construction partners, Pellikaan Construction.

“We are confident that the new state of the art facilities will be well received by the local community, encouraging more people to participate in a lifelong enjoyment of physical activitiy.”

Charles Johnson, director of property at Sport England, added: “Congratulations to Wyre Forest District Council for delivering this amazing facility which makes being active accessible, affordable and fun.

“Having access to modern facilities like this can be a big draw for people thinking about getting active and that is why we are delighted to invest £2 million of National Lottery funding in the centre.

“Thanks to the impressive array of sports and activities on offer, it really can be used by everyone in the area, and I wish it every continued success.”

The opening of the new centre has seen the closure of the Wyre Forest Glades Leisure Centre and Stourport Sports Centre, while Bewdley Leisure Centre will remain open.

The Wyre Forest Leisure Centre will be open between 6.30am and 10pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 8am to 9pm on Sundays.

Details of memberships, class timetables, climbing wall, sport pitches and court bookings can be found on placesforpeopleleisure.org/centres/wyre-forest-leisure-centre.

Places for People Leisure is running a competition to name the leisure centre’s dog mascot. All entries must be submitted through their Facebook page using #nameourpooch.

The competition will close on Friday, July 22, and there is a chance of winning a year’s family membership.