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New leisure centre is making good progress

Pool already being tested at Swanley's replacement White Oak Centre

Sevenoaks District Council continues its support and investment in sports and leisure across the district. In Swanley, the council’s biggest capital project in 30 years continues apace as the new White Oak Leisure Centre takes shape. This investment sits alongside several other significant projects for the town.

District council leader, Cllr Peter Fleming, and Cllr Susan Coleman recently stopped off at the new centre so see how the fitness facility is working out.

All the steelwork in the new £20m centre is complete with the roof, wall cladding and floor all in place. At the time of the visit in late arch, the main swimming pool was being tested.

The new, energy-efficient, bright and open facility will take over from the current White Oak Centre in early 2022. The new centre includes a 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool with movable floor, a learner pool, a substantial 100+ station fitness suite and a ‘Feel Good Suite’ for people who need help to exercise. It also comes with a multi-purpose recreation and fitness areas and rooms, Tag Active (a game-based indoor obstacle course), a soft play area, studio spaces and a café and viewing area.

At a recent Community Infrastructure Board meeting, Sevenoaks District Councillors also agreed funding for the Orchards Academy sports hall improvements.

The council’s overall investment in this project now stands at more than £200,000, with the Academy Trust funding further works to improve the facilities for both school pupils and the wider community.

Cllr Fleming says: “We’re all really excited about the new centre and we cannot wait to offer Swanley residents a top-class, state-of-the-art leisure facility. This is our biggest investment in a generation, when this project is completed, the community will have a leisure centre it can be really truly proud of.”

The current White Oak Leisure Centre is expected to reopen from Monday and, subject to further lockdowns, will remain open until shortly before the new centre opens in early 2022.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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