Celebrations took place yesterday to mark the opening of the town’s long-awaited new leisure centre.
Crowds poured in as the Arc opened its doors at 12 noon – and leisure bosses said they were delighted by the reaction.
Customers were queuing to be among the first to use the facilities – which include a main pool with moveable floor that meets regional competition standards, a learner pool, large sports hall that will accommodate 11 different types of sport, fitness suite and a studio for gymnastics, martial arts, aerobics, dance classes and parties.
Plans for the centre have been in the pipeline for over twelve years with a planning application submitted in May 2009 and approved in August.
The £12 million scheme is the biggest single development ever undertaken by Derbyshire Dales District Council.
Chairman of the council, Geoff Stevens said: “I’m confident local people will be impressed by Arc Leisure Matlock – it really is a fabulous building in a fabulous setting and a superb response to what Derbyshire Dales residents told us was desperately needed in this area.”
The project has been supported by the Matlock and Area Sports and Recreation Group (MARS), which represents local people and groups.
The group is set to hand over its final financial contribution to the district council in October and has so far raised £200,000 for the project with help from local businesses and residents.
Chair of the group Barrie Tipping said: “I want to congratulate the district council for their vision and drive to complete the project which will be an attraction to locals and visitors alike.
“A great leisure facility to be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.”
Arc Leisure Matlock has been funded by the district council, with significant financial support from the East Midlands Development Agency, Sport England, the Amateur Swimming Association and MARS.
The scheme on a reclaimed site between Matlock and Darley Dale is already an award winner after Arc was named the Most Sustainable Remediation Project at the Brownfield Briefing Remediation Innovation Awards last October.
Yesterday kicked off a preview week where no advance bookings will be taken but people will be able to use the facilities for the first time during the August Bank Holiday.
Steve Sankey, chairman of Matlock Swimming Club, said:
“This is one of the best things to happen in Matlock for a long time.”
He added: “It is a superb facility and exactly what we want. We will be able to move forward from the Lido, where we were for 73 years, to a new state-of-the-art facility.
“It will only help the club. We already have 200 plus members and hope more will join.
“The council is often criticised but I think they have done a first class job and have listened to what people wanted.”