A major refurbishment of one of the borough’s oldest leisure centres received a civic kick-start from the mayor of Cheshire East.
Councillor Sarah Pochin, together with the mayor of Congleton, Councillor Denis Murphy, witnessed the digging of the first sod of turf at Congleton Leisure Centre, signalling the start of the long-awaited project.
Scheduled to take 70 weeks to complete, the refurbishment will see the demolition of the legacy pool and hall and the delivery of two new pools, with a thermal suite, modern gym with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, refreshment facilities and a soft play area for youngsters.
The contract for the works was awarded to a local company – Rock Merchanting, trading as Pulse Design and Build – based at Radnor Park, who specialise in leisure and fitness delivery projects.
Final planning permission was given earlier this year and the refurbishment project is expected to generate £1.3m for the local economy.
Congleton Leisure Centre was built in the 1970s and is the latest scheme to upgrade the borough’s leisure facilities.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East chair of environment and communities, was unable to attend the ceremony due to family commitments but sent a message of good luck to the contractors.
He said: “This is another milestone project for Congleton and follows the recent completion of the Congleton Link Road. The two projects combined will do a great deal for the health and wellbeing of the people of Congleton – a new road that relieves the town of traffic congestion and a upgraded leisure centre where people can enjoy quality time exercising, swimming and relaxing in modern surroundings.”
Councillor Sarah Pochin said: “Leisure centres and the wealth of services that they provide play an important role in helping keep us fit and active, both physically and mentally. I know that this wonderful new facility will be popular and very well used when it opens next year.
“I would like to congratulate all those, including user groups, Congleton Town Council and Everybody Sport and Recreation, the council’s leisure trust, for the work that they have done to get the project to his stage. This cannot have been easy when you consider what the country has been through over the last year.”
Matt Johnson, executive director of Pulse Design and Build, said: “I’m delighted to see works commencing on our home-town leisure centre and it is fitting that the works are started by our appointed Congleton-based groundworks contractor.
“Community is so important in Congleton, and we’re proud to have had a base in the town for over 40 years. I look forward to seeing this site progress. The need for future generations to have access to outstanding leisure and wellbeing facilities has never been more pressing.”
During its closure and refurbishment, all members of the leisure centre will be able to access facilities at the council’s other leisure centres across the borough including, Macclesfield, Holmes Chapel, Sandbach and Alsager.