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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
Leisure centre set to close
Maysfield Leisure Centre
Maysfield Leisure Centre has faced uncertainty for several years
Councillors have voted to close Belfast's oldest leisure centre.

The Maysfield Leisure Centre needed millions of pounds of work in order to meet health and safety requirements.

It will close in 2004.

The councillors decided on Tuesday to build a new facility in south Belfast instead.

The centre, which opened in 1977, has hosted many high profile events including concerts and world boxing fights.

Although it has the third highest number of customers of any Belfast City Council facility, it has faced uncertainty for several years.

Democratic Unionist councillor Sammy Wilson said the decision meant they could "capitalise on the site at Maysfield".

"That should give us enough money to build a new facility in south Belfast, which doesn't have one, and then unlock opportunities in the future for new provision in north and east Belfast," he said.

Sinn Fein councillors voted against the motion over concerns that some sections of the community in east Belfast could lose out if there is no replacement.

Councillor Joe O'Donnell called for a "compensatory measure for the loss of leisure facilities" in the area.

Forty people employed at Maysfield have been promised jobs elsewhere when the centre closes next year.

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