SCHOOLCHILDREN helped celebrate the handover of Bulmershe Leisure Centre as part of a £14m redevelopment.

Pupils from Bulmershe School were on hand to mark the move of the site to Wokingham Borough Council's (WBC) contractor Pellikaan Construction.

Councillors are hoping to rejuvenate leisure facilities throughout the borough by investing in modern equipment and helping residents to stay active.

The proposals include a sports hall, 25m six-lane swimming pool and a café following a public consultation in 2016.

The tired former leisure centre in Woodlands Avenue, Woodley, was demolished during the summer and a contractor was appointed after a tender process.

Norman Jorgensen, executive member for Leisure, said: “This new centre won’t just be a hub for sports – a place to improve or maintain your health.

"It will be a community focus for people in Woodley of all ages and sporting abilities to enjoy, and socialise, as well as somewhere to go for help to avoid health issues becoming a problem in the first place.

“We are investing more than £30m improving and enhancing sporting facilities across the borough.

"We want to do all we can to encourage and empower people to get fit by giving them more choice in the range of fun activities they can do.”

It is hoped the new centre will open towards the end of 2020, replacing the facility that was originally built in the 1970s.

Councillors conducted extensive consultation sessions with residents and regular users of the leisure centre to identify how money should be invested.

Gert-Jan Peeters, director at Pellikaan Construction, added: “We are proud to have won the design and build tender for the new Bulmershe Leisure Centre.

"Our team is all set to start and we look forward to working with WBC to successfully provide these new facilities for the local community.”

While the new centre is being built, former Bulmershe users can use the facilities at the St Crispin’s, Loddon Valley and Carnival Pool leisure centres.

Pre-construction groundworks are expected to start soon now that Pellikaan is on site, with construction earmarked for the start of next year.