Belfast Telegraph

Name of Peter Robinson may vanish from rebuilt Northern Ireland leisure centre

By Rebecca Black

A Belfast leisure centre that was closed due to asbestos is a step closer to getting rebuilt - but may not continue to be named after former First Minister Peter Robinson.

A planning application submitted by Belfast City Council to demolish the existing Robinson Centre and erect a new £20m facility has been recommended for approval, subject to conditions, at the next meeting of the planning committee at City Hall on Tuesday.

The Robinson Centre, located off the Castlereagh Road in east Belfast, closed in February last year due to health and safety concerns.

The cost of removing the asbestos and legionella onsite was estimated at £5m.

That prompted the council's decision to demolish it and rebuild.

The replacement is described in the planning application as "a new aquatic centre with enhanced modern facilities".

It will include two swimming pools and a third leisure pool, as well as a four-court sports hall and 140-station fitness suite.

There will also be two outside five-a-side pitches with floodlighting and a playground.

The Robinson Centre was run by the old Castlereagh Borough Council, and was transferred into the ownership of Belfast when the number of local authorities here was reduced from 26 to 11 super councils.

It was opened by the former DUP First Minister.

However, it is not known if the new leisure centre will retain his name.

A DUP insider suggested there was no guarantees over the name, saying it will be decided by the council further down the line.

The DUP does not have a majority on Belfast City Council, as it did in Castlereagh.

Sinn Fein is the biggest party with 19 councillors.

The DUP has 13, Alliance eight, SDLP seven, UUP six, PUP three, and the Greens and People Before Profit one each.

Meanwhile, another planning application from Belfast City Council for a leisure centre in the west of the city has been recommended for approval, subject to conditions.

The current Brook Activity Centre is to be demolished and a new multi-purpose building - including a 25m, four-lane swimming pool, five-court sports hall, 60-station fitness suite and changing rooms - is planned.

The outside facilities will include a GAA pitch, football pitches and a hurling wall.

Belfast Telegraph


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