THE district's leisure centres could reopen as early as next week.

Braintree Council's cabinet will be discussing the plans for a phased reopening of centres in Halstead, Braintree and Witham in a meeting later today.

Bosses are expected to approve funding for £480,000 to help Fusion reopen centres, which have been closed since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Leisure centres and gyms were given the all clear to reopen by the Government back on July 25.

But Fusion has been unable to open its venues in the district due to the amount of work needed to ensure social distancing and hygiene standards could be met.

Council bosses say the additional cash, which will be handed over across an eight-month period, will allow Fusion to make the necessary changes.

If the plan and financial support is agreed by cabinet, the Braintree Sport and Health Club, in Panfield Lane, Witham Leisure Centre, in Spinks Lane, and Halstead Leisure Centre, in Colne Road, will all reopen on Monday (August 3).

However, the swimming pool at the Witham centre will not reopen until Monday, August 10.

Both Braintree Swimming and Fitness Centre, in Charter Way, and the swimming pool in Halstead would remain closed until at least September.

Council bosses they will open in the second phase of the 're-mobilisation plan' which will begin on September 7.

A council spokesman said: "There will be a number of measures in place to keep both the centre users and staff safe.

"Fusion will follow all guidance from central government and national governing bodies such as UKactive and Swim England. These measures will include additional signage, one way systems, additional sanitisation and a booking system for all activities which will enable the centres to support the government’s NHS Test and Trace service.

"In order to help customers to observe strict social distancing measures, gym and group exercise equipment will be spaced out around the centres and different areas of the centre may be used to provide additional space. Government guidance will however limit the number of participants able to take part in activities."

Today's meeting will be held virtually and will be streamed live on Youtube.