Cheshire East Council is confident it can press ahead with creating a refurbished Congleton Leisure Centre in the spring – subject to the formal decision process and despite the economic setback caused by the pandemic.
A reconfiguration of the design would provide more room for leisure activities and boost revenues. A full report is about to go before the council’s portfolio holder for communities, Councillor Mick Warren with his decision expected next week.
The new layout would see a bigger gym compared with the previous design, while all the original plans for two new swimming pools, changing facilities, fitness suite, thermal unit and studio space, would remain unchanged.
Outdoor facilities, including the new skate park, would go ahead at a later date and the rugby facilities would not be affected. It is expected that a refurbished leisure centre would lead to increased membership and a sustainable future.
Cllr Warren said: “I am pleased to be able to consider this report, knowing that the people of Congleton have waited patiently for this to happen.
“Yes, we would have liked to bring this forward much sooner but the current pandemic has had a significant impact on projects of this nature across the public sector and beyond.
“We could, of course, pause the project further, until the entire economic and leisure landscape is in sharper focus. But I feel the time is now right to consider this decision, which would not only avoid the council incurring additional contractual costs but would give some reassurance to our residents in Congleton that we are giving this project full consideration.
Councillor Andrew Kolker, chairman of the board of Everbody Sport and Recreation, said: “Everybody welcomes the proposal for the Congleton Leisure Centre refurbishment and are pleased to hear that the work could begin in early 2021.
“We want to reassure customers that, in the event of any closure, they will have access to all of our other leisure venues in Cheshire East as part of their Everybody membership.
“We will work closely with clubs and our partners during this period. The feedback from our recent centre redevelopments, including Macclesfield and Alsager, has been extremely positive and this is another great opportunity to continue our joint work and investment with the council, for the benefit of our residents and our Everybody members.”
Congleton Town Mayor, Councillor Sally Ann Holland, said: “Following discussions between Congleton Town Council and Cheshire East Council about the future of the leisure centre, we very much welcome this news.
“Congleton Leisure Centre is an important community asset for the residents of the town and the surrounding parishes. The current centre is almost 50 years old and is in desperate need of an upgrade.
“We hope that a positive decision will be reached soon, and that in the 750th anniversary year, which is 2022, we can look forward to the opening of a modern state-of-the-art facility for our residents to enjoy.”
The revised project would support local businesses with the ground works and demolition alone expected to inject around £1.3m into the local economy.
All relevant documents can be viewed on the council’s website at: https://rb.gy/jdy7ar