A LEISURE centre saved from closure will reopen by the end of August - but will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair.

St Mary's Leisure Centre in Southampton was revived when Labour took control of Southampton City Council in May.

It had been closed by the previous Tory administration to save cash.

But now it's hoped the centre will reopen by August 31 if plans for its interim return for 18 months are approved next week.

Active Nation UK is set to run the site for the interim period.

It will cost the council £178,000 to run in 2022/23 and £168,000 in 2023/24.

READ MORE: St Mary's Leisure Centre reopening to be finalised next month

But repairs will cost more. Work on the main building was estimated at £382,309 in September 2021 although this does not include making any improvements.

Actual repair costs are set to be 'significantly' higher due to rising costs in the building trade, the council has said.

A report due to be heard at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday said: "Subject to the approval of the recommendations of this report, the council intends to re-open SMLC at the earliest possible opportunity and to recommence leisure services from the facility.

"These leisure services and the associated opening times are anticipated to be in line with those previously offered by SU before the closure of SMLC in December 2021.

"It is anticipated campaigners want the reopening to come sooner than the end of summer."

Some 86 per cent of people responding to a consultation on the closure previously said it would have a negative impact on the community.

The cabinet report also revealed the Labour administration has not run a competitive tender process for the leisure centre.

The report said: "This option was rejected as the council intends to work closely with the local community and other users and potential users of the facility before designing a proposed approach to the long-term future of the facility.

"The council would, following the completion of this engagement, then undertake a formal twelve-week consultation process regarding the plans developed; this option would therefore not meet the objective of recommencing services from SMLC at the earliest possible opportunity."

Long term plans will be drawn up when the centre is running again.

It's hoped these will "include a range of services which will benefit the community and provide a sustainable and well-supported solution in order to secure a long-term and viable future".