Contracts have been signed, signalling the next important steps in the redevelopment of one of the borough’s key leisure and sports facilities.
The project to demolish the legacy pool and hall and refurbish Congleton Leisure Centre will deliver two new swimming pools, with a thermal suite, a modern gym, state-of-the-art fitness equipment, exercise and refreshment facilities.
The contract for the 70-week refurbishment has been awarded to a Congleton company – Rock Merchanting, trading as Pulse Design and Build – which is based at Radnor Park and which specialises in leisure and fitness delivery projects.
The £10m scheme is predicted to make a significant impact on the town, with the ground works and demolition alone injecting an estimated £1.3m into the local economy through jobs and procurement.
Demolition and construction works are due to begin in mid-June, meaning that the existing facilities will not reopen before then. Leisure centre members can access facilities at any of the Cheshire East Council’s other centres, managed by the borough’s leisure trust Everybody Sport and Recreation (ESAR).
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council’s chair of environment and communities, said: “For a number of reasons, including the pandemic, this project has experienced a bumpy journey so far.
“But now we can celebrate the start of the next stage in getting this scheme off the ground, and I am confident that the local company we have engaged will deliver a first-class facility for the people of Congleton in 2022.”
Matt Johnson, executive director of Pulse said: “We are delighted that, after lots of hard work behind the scenes, we are now in a position to commence the redevelopment works for the Congleton Leisure Centre on site.
“We look forward to breaking ground mid-June to bring to realisation the much-needed modernisation of our home-town leisure centre.
“We are confident that once completed, the leisure centre will be inclusive for all and will provide a state-of-the-art mix of facilities that are tailored to our local community, that will also be financially sustainable to operate long into the future.” Councillor Denis Murphy, Congleton town mayor, said: “This is welcome news that, after many delays, we finally have certainty about a start date and time scale for the much-needed renovation.
“We eagerly await the opening of the new-look centre, and the opportunity to enjoy the new pool and improved facilities. It is not ideal that the town will spend a further 15 months without its public leisure centre, but we understand that this is necessary in order to complete the works as planned.”
Councillor Andrew Kolker, chairman of Everybody, said: “Working with the council, we have carried out a number of highly-successful redevelopment and refurbishment projects at our other centres in the borough and we are currently upgrading facilities in Nantwich.
“Congleton will be another landmark achievement in the leisure offer for Cheshire East residents and we look forward to seeing its progress in the months ahead. We will now move on with our joint investment plans for Middlewich, Poynton, Knutsford and Wilmslow centres over the next few years too.”
Congleton Leisure Centre was built in the early 1970s, and despite the addition of new facilities at various stages, it remains in serious need of improvements to bring it up to modern standards comparable with other leisure facilities in the borough and elsewhere.