The contractor behind Congleton’s refurbished leisure centre says ‘unforeseen circumstances’ have led to the delay
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The opening of Congleton's refurbished leisure centre has been delayed until next year – and costs have now run over by £1.6 million. Council bosses now say the centre will reopen in 2023, when it was originally set to open this December.
Cheshire East Council leaders have said that the setbacks are 'beyond their control'. Contractor Pulse Design and Build say 'unforeseen circumstances' have led to this delay, and the increasing cost.
Two sub-contractors who were handling the two new swimming pools have gone into liquidation, and a quantity of asbestos was also uncovered.
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The refurbishment will include a new gym, a learner pool, fitness equipment, a thermal suite, cafe, and a soft play area for toddlers. The borough’s leisure trust, Everybody Health and Leisure, manages 16 leisure centres across Cheshire East.
A new sub-contractor will now be completing the pools, and specialist contractors have been called in to clear the asbestos. Councillor Mick Warren, chair of the council’s environment and communities committee, said: “While the delay in the contract represents a blow, I am pleased to see the whole scheme progressing well in other areas of the site and I am confident we will see the building reopened for members and visitors in 2023.
“This is a major refurbishment project and setbacks of this nature are not uncommon with construction projects of this scale. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that we are not able to see the centre reopened in time for Christmas.
“It is also disappointing to see inaccurate and mischievous public statements by individuals concerning the overrun on this project and associated additional costs, which are nowhere near the true figure. This is not helpful and it is factually incorrect.”
Chris Johnson, managing director of the principal project contractor Pulse Design and Build, said: “We share the council’s disappointment that unforeseeable circumstances have delayed the opening and progression of the Congleton Leisure Centre. Looking forward, Pulse is working alongside Cheshire East Council to ensure the next stages of the development proceed smoothly.
"I hope that in spring 2023 local residents are provided with a welcoming, community-focused fitness facility to help support their wellbeing.” Thomas Barton, chief executive of Everybody Health and Leisure, said: “The team at Everybody Health and Leisure stands ready and eager for practical completion of Congleton Leisure Centre.
“It is disappointing for the project to experience this setback, but we remain positive in the knowledge that this fantastic development will deliver health benefits to thousands of residents, assist in our commitment to support children in learning to swim and deliver career opportunities to local people. Our leisure centres across the borough will continue to welcome members and visitors from Congleton, while we ensure the refurbishment is delivered to a high standard.”
Details of all the council leisure centres can be found on the council’s website.
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