Decision due on Congleton leisure centre

Cheshire East Council has been asked to sign off proposals for a comprehensive overhaul of Congleton’s leisure centre, featuring a major refurbishment and extension of the existing building on Worrall Street.

Working with leisure specialists Pulse Design & Build as development partner, the council’s proposals include the demolition of the existing swimming pool hall and its supporting facilities, to be replaced by a new six-lane swimming pool, new learner pool and facilities, along with an extensive interior remodelling to create community meeting spaces, a soft play area with access to a café and a gym with facilities over two floors.

Increased facilities for disabled centre users will be introduced, while the existing three squash courts will be reduced to one. The existing centre at Worrall Street dates to the 1970s and has only had minor refurbishment since then.

Part of the extension is to be built on land used by Congleton Rugby Club; some of this land is designated as protected open space and will be lost as part of the proposals, although much of the rugby pitch will be retained.

A planning application was submitted in January, followed by a public consultation, and Cheshire East’s northern planning committee has been recommended to support the scheme when it meets next week.

Planning officers said the positives of additional sports facilities outweighed the harm caused by the loss of part of the rugby pitches, and noted an area of existing car park will be returned to grass for use by the rugby club as part of the proposals.

Officers said the planning application be delegated to the council’s head of planning, with recommendation to approve, subject to receiving additional information on ecology matters, and the receipt of a payment of £8,000 towards implementing a parking restriction on Worrall Street.

Cheshire East’s northern planning committee will decide on the application on 13 March.

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