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Selby's fire-hit Abbey Leisure Centre is to be demolished and rebuilt in a multi million-pound scheme that will take more than two years to complete.

Selby District Council has decided to “start from scratch” and rebuild the centre to provide new fitness and swimming facilities for the district in a newly designed building.

A report by project consultants say it could cost up to £9 million, though the council wants to reduce the costs without loss of facilities.

Since the centre was crippled in an early morning blaze in February, the council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), which ran Abbey Leisure, have been looking at options for the building, including a refurbishment of the existing structure, whether the site could be used differently or whether to demolish what is there and start again.

But councillors have now decided to start from scratch at the site to deliver anew leisure centre “fit for the 21st century”. This will include a new 25m six-lane swimming pool.

Coun Mark Crane, leader of the Council, said: “This is ambitious, this will take time, but this is what we need to do to deliver first-class leisure facilities.

“We’re going to build a brand new leisure centre for Selby, including a new swimming pool that’s better suited to people’s needs. It’ll be a real focus for the community and will help to revitalise leisure provision in the area. This doesn't just benefit Selby town; having this new facility on the doorstep will benefit people from across the district. It will be a real draw for the area.”

It is anticipated that the scheme will take about 30 months to complete.