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Halton Borough Council said there are hopes the “exciting” facility will act as a catalyst for regeneration in the area.
An artist’s impression of the planned £31m Halton Leisure Centre on Moor Lane in Widnes. (HBC)
Building work is due to start soon on the £31m Halton Leisure Centre in Widnes.
Halton Borough Council said the “exciting” project on Moor Lane will have a six-lane 25-metre swimming pool and learner pool, seating for 150 visitors, a 100-station gym, four-court sports hall, plus spinning and exercise studio, squash court, soft play, health consultation rooms and a café and social space.
It will also feature a Changing Places for visitors with learning or physical disabilities.
Halton Council said the two-storey building will provide a “high quality, accessible and sustainable facility, which is vibrant and welcoming, capable of supporting sport, health and wellbeing, and offers inclusive services for all”.
Parking for more than 150 vehicles is expected, plus five chaging points with capacity for 15 more.
The council said the building phase will create 10 construction jobs plus 10 apprenticeships and 55 work experience placements.
The building will replace the “ageing” and “outdated” Kingsway Leisure Centre.
A council spokeswoman said the project was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and also a Compulsory Purchase Order process, which has been resolved, meaning the contractor Wates Construction can begin work.
Equipment-moving is due to start in December, with the construction phase arriving in the New Year.
Completion is expected towards the end of January 2025.
As previously revealed by InYourArea, the project was initially supposed to cost £20m but costs have spiralled due to the inflation crisis and also about £1.4m of green upgrades that mean the centre will run off solar power connected to a solar farm on Dundalk Road and heat pump electricity instead of gas.
Originally pitched as the “Widnes Leisure Centre”, the project has been redubbed the Halton Leisure Centre, coinciding with the apparently stalled hopes of building a parallel facility at a redeveloped Halton Hospital site in Runcorn to replace Runcorn Swimming Pool.
Cllr Dave Thompson, deputy council leader and portfolio holder for major projects, said: “I am pleased to be able to announce that work on the long-awaited new centre is going ahead and I very much look forward to its completion.
“The creation of this modern, attractive building on the Moor Lane site will enhance the area and bring extra activity and footfall and act as a catalyst for the future regeneration of the area.”
Cllr Paul Nolan (leisure services) said: “The centre will be inclusive for all, it will provide a modern mix of facilities tailored to our local community, and supports the council’s vision of helping more residents to participate in sport and physical activity, thus improving their long-term health and wellbeing.
“It will also be financially sustainable to operate long into the future.”
Dave Saville, Wates Construction North regional managing director, said: “Leisure centres are integral to supporting the long-term wellbeing of a community and upgrading older facilities is essential to keeping them accessible for all.
“We’ve carefully designed Halton Leisure Centre to provide the best experience for end users, as well as prioritised sustainability and state-of-the-art technology, effectively future-proofing the hub for years to come.
“Now work is due to begin, we’re focused on using the site to offer work and learning opportunities to the community and delivering the project to the high standard we pride ourselves on.”
Read more news from Widnes, Cheshire, here.
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