THE new £10m leisure centre in Horwich is set to open next month but visitors have already had a glimpse inside.

Curious gym-goers had their first look at the complex this weekend with doors opening for a special sneak preview.

Visitors to the Church Street centre — which has been billed as being 'state-of-the-art' — were given a taste of what is to come when it fully opens in December.

Among the groups stepping through the doors were regular members of the older centre across the way.

Mum-of-two Rebecca Albrown from Horwich said: "It is amazing compared to the old centre. We can't wait for swimming lessons to start!

"It looks really inviting and innovative.

"My children have swimming lessons here every week so it's going to make a big difference. We have been asking every week 'when is it going to be ready?'

"There are not many facilities like this unless you go into Bolton, so it's great for the whole area and not just Horwich."

Her enthusiasm was echoed by Chris McCaughtrie, aged 29, from Astley Bridge who said he would be taking his five-year-old daughter to the pool.

He added: "This facility looks a lot better inside. I'm looking forward to it opening."

The centre features a 25-metre six lane swimming pool, a teaching pool, a 100-station gym, spin and dance studios, a multi-purpose room and a four court sports hall.

However, during the Open Weekend visitors only got to visit the gym and spinning class due to some electrical work still being completed.

Without seeing the whole facility some visitors were still reserving judgement on the building.

Emma Farmer, aged 36, from Johnston Fold, popped inside briefly. She said: "I think it needed to be done, but we want to we see how swimming lessons will work and the rest of the facilities as well.

"I think it will bring people and it looks modern. It just needs more parking but once they've figured that out I'm sure people will appreciate it more."

While many praised the modern facilities and feel of the building, some of the current gym, members did point out a flaw in the facilities.

Kevin Stray, aged 62, from Horwich, said: "I used to play squash and there are no courts which is a shame because there's just nothing.

"With a number of squash players that come here, it is regrettable. I can perhaps understand why they haven't included them, but one or two courts would have been nice."

The new building has taken just over a year to construct and it is part of a wider investment in Horwich including a new primary school and 3G pitch.

The centre has been jointly funded by Bolton Council and Bolton Community Leisure Trust (BCLT), who will also manage the facility.

Work was officially completed on Friday, with the formal handover of the keys to the council.

Cabinet member for sport, Cllr John Byrne, said: "This is a fantastic new, modern leisure centre.

"I am delighted that our residents in Horwich and the surrounding area have all these wonderful facilities.

"We would invite everyone to take the opportunity to come and look around the centre – and use it.

"It will provide first-class facilities and encourage people to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle. It is an exciting day for Horwich."