PLANS for a new public gym and sports centre at the old Burnholme College site in York could take a step forward at a City of York council meeting tomorrow.

The council’s executive members will be asked to approve nearly £2.5 million of funding for the scheme, which would see the site refurbished to create a new gym, two studios for fitness classes and revamped changing facilities.

There are also plans to create a new reception area, improve the playing fields and reopen the footpath and cycle route between Derwenthorpe and Burnholme.

A council report says the sports centre’s opening hours would increase from 20 hours a week to 75 hours, with opening times between 8am and 10pm. Extra staff would also be recruited.

And the site could offer a junior gymnastics coaching programme, with the report adding that there is a shortage of opportunities for youngsters to try gymnastics in the city.

The plans are part of a bid to improve the health of some of the city’s least active residents, with research showing that 20 per cent of people in York do less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.

There are plans for a GP exercise referral programme at the centre which, if successful, could be rolled out across the city.

The report says: “The model of sports and active leisure provision which is proposed at Burnholme will also serve as a beacon for other areas in York, allowing us to show what works and the many benefits that can flow from an active lifestyle.”

If the scheme is approved at a meeting tomorrow evening, the funding will come from the sale of closed council-owned older peoples’ homes and Tang Hall library, as well as planning payments from developers.

The new plan is around £1.5 million more expensive than older versions of the scheme, which comes on top of an estimated £81,000 overspend elsewhere at Burnholme.

Councillors are being asked to hand over around £1 million from care home sales that have already gone through, and to earmark more cash from future sales for this project.

Residents have been invited to comment on the scheme before a planning application is submitted. At previous consultation events, residents had asked for the development to include a swimming pool, a skate park and an ice rink.

Under the plans, the new sports centre could open in the summer of 2019.