New leisure centre smashes membership target

Virginia Gay at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. 

Virginia Gay at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. - Credit: NNDC

More than 1,300 people have become members of The Reef pool and leisure centre in the four months since it opened. 

The owner of the Sheringham facility, North Norfolk District Council, had expected that number to only be reached by the end of the centre's third year. 

Karl Read, the council's leisure and localities manager, said: "The reception to The Reef has been fantastic – we were expecting the facility to be popular, but the numbers are incredible and really reflect just how much it has to offer.

"It’s a proud moment for us, to have delivered such a facility.”

Sheringham's mayor, Peter Ratcliffe, at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. 

Sheringham's mayor, Peter Ratcliffe, at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. - Credit: NNDC

Tim Adams at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. 

Tim Adams at the official opening of The Reef leisure centre. - Credit: NNDC

During its construction the £12.7 million centre drew criticism for its lack of slides, a wave machine and a 'beach-style' sloping shallow end - all popular features of Splash, the facility it replaced. 

But council leaders will now feel vindicated by the success of the new centre, which had 17,000 visits in February alone – 4,000 more than Splash achieved in February 2020, before the pandemic. 

Splash - which was opened in 1988 by Princess Diana - was demolished just as the new centre was being constructed on the same site.

Council leader Tim Adams cut a ribbon to formally open The Reef at a small ceremony on March 31, which was followed by a tour for guests. 

Karl Read, North Norfolk District Council's leisure and localities manager at The Reef in Sheringham.

Karl Read, North Norfolk District Council's leisure and localities manager at The Reef in Sheringham. - Credit: NNDC

Virginia Gay, the council's portfolio holder for leisure, wellbeing and culture, said: “This is a proud day for the council – we were very pleased to open the doors to The Reef in November, but today is our day to truly reflect on this wonderful facility for North Norfolk.

Most Read

"In these short months, The Reef has already been very well used and loved, and all the hard work that has gone into planning an advanced leisure offering in Sheringham has paid off.”

File photo from 1994 of the pool inside the old Splash centre in Sheringham. 

File photo from 1994 of the pool inside the old Splash centre in Sheringham. - Credit: Archant Library

The Reef leisure centre will open in Sheringham on Wednesday, November 30.

The Reef leisure centre will open in Sheringham on Wednesday, November 30. - Credit: The Reef

The centre's community rooms have been dedicated to long-time Sheringham councillor leisure centre campaigner, Brian Hannah, who died in 2020, aged 74.

The Reef is managed by Everyone Active.

Its contract manager, Stuart Jardine, added: “I’m sure the centre will continue to go from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming many more customers over the coming months.”