A SPORTS facility could be developed to encourage more people to use it and, in turn, generate more income.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) is proposing to build a state-of-the-art changing village, dance studios and more car parking at Hitchin Swimming Centre, in Fishponds Road.

The facility, which already includes outdoor and indoor pools and a fitness suite, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, would be expected to benefit financially from these new amenities.

In a report which will go to cabinet on Tuesday, NHDC says the proposed facilities at the centre, which is ran by Stevenage Leisure, would be welcomed in the town.

“The total demand for Hitchin Swimming Centre for fitness is 2,981. Based on the current membership figure of 1,950, this leaves a latent demand of 1,031,” it said.

“Therefore, the council is confident that by including additional dance studios, there is sufficient demand to ensure the facilities are well used.

“Discussions with Stevenage Leisure have identified the provision of dance studios as a project that would generate sufficient profits to repay back the initial capital, plus interest.”

Plans include converting the existing male and female indoor changing rooms into a changing village - effectively, a unisex facility.

It is also proposed to build three new dance studios, which would be based in a single storey extension, and more parking to accommodate the predicted influx of users.

Negotiations are currently underway with the Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust to use a strip of land, which runs alongside the centre, for the latter.

Early estimations show that the project could cost up to �1.83m. The aim is to complete some of the work by January 2014.

“The provision of three new dance studios should increase membership and income from the leisure facility,” added the district council.

“It is envisaged that it will be built to match the existing facilities for the main pool.”