Halton to agree £20m funding deal for Widnes leisure centre

The council’s executive is to sign off a £20m funding package to build a leisure centre at Moor Lane, Widnes, with Wates lined up as main contractor.

The leisure centre will act as a replacement for the existing facility at Kingsway, and is set to include a swimming pool, a gym with capacity for 100 people, a six-court sports hall, café and social space, studios, and health consultation rooms.

It has been in the council’s pipeline since 2018, when Halton commissioned contractor Wates to undertake a feasibility study on delivering a new 50,000 sq ft leisure centre.

This is to be built next to the Alexandra industrial estate off Moor Lane, and bordered by Ellis Street and Witt Road. It is currently used as a bus depot and for a car hire provider.

Wates was enlisted via Scape’s major works framework and has drawn up the proposals with Ellis Williams Architects and Ramboll; the council’s executive has been recommended to continue to work with Wates to develop the proposals, rather than reprocuring the scheme once funding is signed off.

The leisure centre is expected to take around three years to deliver with handover expected in October 2022.

An initial budget of £18.8m has been set aside, but a further £1.2m has been added to include the acquisition of a small parcel of land at the site, as well as the costs of relocating the existing bus depot and Enterprise car hire centre.

Halton Council will fund the project through borrowing, and has been recommended to sign off the proposals at a meeting later this week.

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