Helped by bright sunshine, hundreds of people turned out to attend the official opening of the new Astral Park Sports and Community Centre in Leighton on Saturday.
The community had the opportunity to see for themselves the new facility, whilst a number of activities were laid on for children including a bouncy castle and face painting.
Various community groups and clubs were on hand throughout the day to explain some of the activities that will be taking place at the centre, and visitors also had the opportunity to see how the centre can be used for events such as weddings and business conferences.
The centre was officially opened by the Mayor of Leighton-Linslade, Councillor Amanda Dodwell. Speaking before cutting the ribbon, she said: “It has taken more than 10 years for this building to become a reality, and when the plans for this centre first appeared over a year ago it was predominantly a sports centre with a very modest community room.
“I am therefore delighted that the town council has been able to find the extra money to allow us to build this much larger facility. And I am also chuffed that the opening has coincided with my time as mayor and I get to cut the ribbon!”
The new community centre boasts a number of features, including a commercial kitchen, a community hall that can be split into three separate rooms and extensive business facilities.
Vice chairman of Central Bedfordshire Council, Councillor David Bowater said: “We are delighted at the finished result and the high standard of the building. We have fought for many years to deliver this project and it is fantastic to stand here today and see it finished and ready for use.”
The community centre also includes four changing rooms and will be used by local football clubs. Astral Park is to have a number of football pitches to meet the needs of both adult and junior teams.
Councillor Ray Berry said “We have a shortage of football pitches in the town, and we have undertaken work on Astral Park to help with drainage to make this a viable home for local football teams.
“I believe that we have managed to deliver a facility that meets the needs of the local community, the wider town and local football teams. I am confident that over the coming months and years we will see this centre become a true hub for the local community, and it is a real pleasure to be part of the team that has made this possible.”
The town council has already appointed a senior centre manager and a duty manager to oversee the running of Astral Park. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the centre should contact Mark Penton on 01525 631910.