Dozens of residents queued outside the Littlehampton Wave today to catch a glimpse of the new leisure centre at its grand opening.
After a much anticipated wait, the doors to the £16million new centre in Sea Road, Littlehampton officially opened to the public today (March 29).
Residents can now make use of an eight-lane, 25 metre pool, a multi-purpose pool with moveable floor, a comprehensive 85 station gym boasting the latest technology, a large functional space that can divide into two dance studios, a sports hall equipped for a host of activities and a 25 station indoor cycling studio.
Among excited residents waiting to go in today included Margaret Bosker, who lives in Wick, Littlehampton. The 67-year-old has been a member at the old swimming and sports centre, which is due to be demolished, for 20 years.
She said: "I think it is wonderful - it is new, clean and spacious, it is amazing for Littlehampton.
"The old pool was past its sell by date, this new one is the smartest building in Littlehampton."
Debby Winchester, 51, of Compton Court in Shopfield Close, Rustington, said she was excited to go in and see the new centre. "The old building was becoming quite derelict," she said, adding: "When I found out this was coming I thought it was amazing for the community. I think it is what we need."
The new centre includes a café, spectator seating in the pool area, a multi-purpose room/meeting room and a sauna.
It also features a changing places room which provides toilet and changing facilities with specialist equipment – including a height adjustable changing bench and hoist.
The project was delivered by construction company Willmott Dixon on behalf of Arun District Council.
James Coffey, 33, of Selborne Place, Selborne Road, Littlehampton, said: "I love it, it is much nicer than the old one and I think more people will come down now."
George Overington, 23, of Parkside Avenue, Littlehampton, said he has been going to the old pool since he was a child and was excited to see what the new centre looked like. "It looks really modern - I am liking the architechure," he said.
Jennifer Broster, 80, of Ruston Park, Littlehampton, came down with her daughter who has just moved to the area from Surrey. "I think anything that encourages people to get some exercise is good," she said.
Amy McCarty has been a swimming teacher at the old pool for five years and said she was looking forward to teaching in the brand new centre. "It was needed for the are - the time is just right," she added.