THE first stage of a £704,000 improvement programme for sport in Stokesley has moved a step closer.

Members of Hambleton District Council’s cabinet have recommended to their full council colleagues that £170,000 is allocated to improve the gym and cycling studio.

This will allow the entire stock of gym equipment and indoor cycling bikes to be replaced.

Work on the activity room, reception and shower areas will also get underway – along with the installation of underwater safety cameras in the pools.

This will support the lifesaving provision at the centre allowing for ‘blended’ lifeguarding where patrols and cameras are used side by side, a practice now adopted across the UK.

Cabinet member for leisure, Bridget Fortune said: “Digital systems like this are used across the UK helping lifeguards when pools are busy or visibility from the poolside is obstructed."

She added the improvements will enhance the leisure offer in Stokesley.