Approval for first part of £31m Aquatics Centre upgrade 

The redevelopment of the Manchester leisure centre includes plans to reduce its carbon footprint and upgrade the building’s fabric after two decades of intensive use. 

Built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002, Manchester Aquatics Centre is also in need of new mechanical and electrical systems. 

Plans to cut the facility’s carbon emissions have now been approved by the city council. These include the installation of solar panels, and air source heat pumps as well as an upgraded building management system to allow the new systems to be monitored and managed.

Other elements of the project include: 

  • Creation of a dedicated cycle studio, a larger multi-purpose studio, and unisex toilets 
  • Redesign and refurbishment of the health suite and reconfiguration of the reception area. 

The £31m revamp is designed by Pozzoni Architecture and is to be undertaken by contractor Keir Construction. Ridge and Partners is the structural engineer for the project and TACE is the M&E consultant. 

Manchester City Council is to pay for the upgrades. A total of £29.1m would be raised through borrowing and the remaining £1.3m through capital receipts from land and building sales, according to a proposal signed off by the council earlier this year. 

As a result, the council’s capital budget would increase by £0.7m in 2020/21, £8.5m in 2021/22 and £21.2m in in 2022/23.  

The scheme could also benefit from a share of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s £78m award from government’s £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. 

Manchester Aquatics Centre is operated by MCRactive and Greenwich Leisure. The facility meets the demand of six community swimming pools, according to the city council.

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