Update: 3rd November 2023
I have received the following positive update from Barnaby Rich, Partnership Manager at Better
Over the past 2 weeks we have had a significant amount of work carried out to clear the drains around the centre car parks etc… and remove debris that we believe built up from the initial flood.
We are hopeful that we have improved the drain away to a level that will avoid a repeat of the past few weeks.
We have managed to establish temporary power, through the use of generators, to the Gym, Studios and some of the circulation areas – these are now open to the public. We also now have power to the fire and security systems. Work continues to establish more temporary power around the centre and we hope to have sufficient lighting and power to our soft play and trampoline park in the next 7-10 days.
A programme of work has started to replace the ice rink base and plant systems. We are hopeful we might be in a position to re-open this facility before the end of the year.
We also continue to work with a multitude of specialist contractors to re-instate the various plant systems for the pool, main power, heating, and air handling systems to allow us to re-open the entire centre and move away from the temporary plant solutions.
The team are gearing up to open the Soft Play from Monday and the Trampoline Park will also open next week.
Update: 3 October 2023
I have received the following further update on Better, who manage the Link Centre
I am writing to update you on the situation at The Link Centre. As you will be aware the damage caused by the flooding that took place on 17th September is far worse than we initially thought. There remains no power to the entire building and significant amounts of plant and machinery have been damaged due to the flood waters.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been working with contractors and loss adjustors to understand the extend of the damage and the steps that will need to be taken for us to be able to reopen the centre.
Work will now begin to decontaminate the building, make it safe and restore power. We also need to order and refit plant and machinery that was damaged, to be able to reinstate basic services such as hot water, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Based on the advice provided by our contractors we hope to be able to reopen the gym, fitness studios, soft play and trampoline park in November, but at this stage I’m not in a position to offer an exact date and it may be that certain areas reopen before others. The swimming pool will take longer, but we anticipate that it will reopen before the end of the year.
The biggest and most complex challenge is the ice rink. It is one of the areas that saw the worst damage and we believe the lighting and electrical circuits to the area have been compromised. In addition, the sand ice pad base will need to be replaced and only then can the ice rebuild begin. We are therefore looking at the ice rink reopening in 2024.
We are offering leisure centre members to option of using alternative Better leisure facilities in Swindon, South and West Oxfordshire and Bath at no cost, we have already transferred nearly 200 swimming pupils to Dorcan leisure centre and there is space for a further 100 pupils. We are relocating fitness classes where we can and issuing membership credits.
We are also in regular contact with the clubs that use the Link and are very aware of the situation facing Swindon’s Wildcats. We had tried to facilitate a temporary relocation to an Ice Rink in Cardiff, but understand that this was not logistically possible.
We are very grateful for your support during this extremely challenging time. We have seen some comments on social media suggesting that GLL want to close The Link Centre and nothing could be further from the truth. As you are aware over summer 2023 we invested £300k to upgrade the Ice Rink at the Link Centre and are committed to a long-term future within Swindon.
Update: 28th September 2023
I have received the following response from Better, who manage the Link Centre.
We will be sharing times lines with customers, members and the press as soon as we have the detail, and at the earliest opportunity.
No information is being “held back”, this is a complex problem that specialist contractors need time to work through.
I appreciate this is very frustrating, none more so for everyone at GLL, but we are committed to resolving this and proving further details as soon as that is practically possible.
Thank you for your understanding and offers to aid us in sharing information with the community.
27th September 2023
I have been contacted by many local residents who have been affected by the closure of the Link Centre here in Swindon, due to the recent flash floods.
This closure is even more disappointing after Better, who manage the Link Centre, recently carried out extensive energy improvement works, investing over £300,000.
I have been in touch with the Swindon Wildcats to offer my full support at this time.
I have also written to The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, The Rt Hon Lucy Frazer MP, to inform her of the current situation, and ask what can be done to support local residents, the Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey Team, Swindon Dolphins ASC, and all of the other clubs and groups who regularly use the Link Centre.
Although the Link Centre is run by Better, Swindon Borough Council own the building, so I have also written to Council Leader Cllr Jim Robbins, and asked what can be done by SBC to support all of those affected by the closure.
I will continue to do all I can to support everyone who has been affected by the closure of the Link Centre here in Swindon.