New leisure facilities in Kidsgrove win approval

Sports CentreMulti-million pound plans to provide new leisure facilities in Kidsgrove have won approval. The borough council’s Cabinet has confirmed its support for the replacement of the town’s aging sports centre following an in-depth report produced by a working group of councillors. The report states that there is currently an under provision of water space in the Borough and therefore the loss of the pools at Kidsgrove would result in a significant level of under provision. Site options, potential funding and also the type of facilities to be made available in a new complex will now all be examined as the project moves forward. Cllr. Trevor Hambleton, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and localism, said: “The condition of Kidsgrove sports centre is a big concern for us because even though we don’t own the building or the land it sits on, we do provide important services to local people from the building. “The building is dated and there have been significant problems with regards to its condition and that has impacted on the range and availability of services we could offer to residents. “The current joint use agreement we have with the county council – who own the building and land – and Clough Hall School expires in March 2016 so we began the work this summer on what happens next. We support the report by the Active and Cohesive Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet’s commitment is to replace the facilities for Kidsgrove residents.” A new school is planned on the Clough Hall site and this is likely to be ready in September 2016. However, the planning application which has been submitted has led to concerns over how that may impact on the centre as well as the wider community. The location of a new facility was considered by scrutiny committee members who looked at eight sites in the town and these have been narrowed down to three preferred sites (Clough Hall School, Hardingswood Road and Station Road). The sites offer three potential models for development: A new build to Sport England specification with a construction cost of £7.7m; refurbishment of the existing site with a construction cost of £4.5m or the development of a hybrid type centre with a broad cost envelope of £5m. No decisions have been made at this stage and the final choice will depend on a number of factors which become clearer as the project develops. The preferred facility mix includes a 25 metre, six lane swimming pool; teaching pool; 50-station gym and a flexible space that could be divided into two or three studios. If space and budget were available a health suite – comprising steam and sauna facilities – together with a climbing wall will be considered. Cllr. Hambleton said: “The work done by the scrutiny committee has been invaluable in moving this project forward. It means Cabinet is now in a position to confirm its support for replacing sports facilities in Kidsgrove. “What we will do now is consider adding this project to a future capital programme at the council and set up discussions to identify where we could possibly get match-funding from to contribute to the cost of the scheme.”

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