New leisure centres could be built in Altrincham and Stretford under a £47m investment plan that will go before Trafford Council’s executive next week, although plans to replace Sale Leisure Centre will need “further feasibility studies” before they can be progressed.
Trafford Council initially outlined its leisure centre investment strategy in 2016 with around £24.4m of capital funding approved for investment in Altrincham, Sale, Stretford, and Urmston.
Following further development of this strategy, the council has now decided to invest in two new leisure centres – one in Altrincham, and one in Stretford – although the capital expenditure will now be significantly higher than originally planned.
In Altrincham, the original intention had been to develop a leisure centre as part of the second phase of Altair, a mixed-use scheme brought forward by developer Nikal on the site of car park between the ice rink, transport interchange, and the existing leisure centre.
However, the council has now said under this arrangement it “was not possible to build a sustainable leisure centre to the specification required” and that costs had also escalated significantly above the original estimated development cost of £10m.
The latest proposals for Altrincham will include a 25m pool and 25m leisure pool with a moveable floor; there will also be a 100-station fitness suite, which is twice the size of the existing facility, while there are also plans to include a six-court sports hall, squash courts, and party rooms.
Trafford Council said the existing leisure centre is “in a very poor state of repair and is now suffering from reducing customer numbers”. The report to the council also added the building was “at the end of its economic life and refurbishment is not a viable option”.
The existing swimming pool will be maintained throughout the 18-month build period before being replaced with new swimming facilities. It is expected the total construction cost of the new leisure centre as well as car parking for 300 cars will be £22.4m.
In Stretford, a new-build facility is being planned as part of the wider Civic Quarter masterplan. This will include a 25m pool and 18m leisure pool; a 160-station fitness suite; a nine-court sports hall; and a café. The sports hall will also have the ability to be used as an indoor cricket practice area.
This new-build project is expected to cost around £24.5m and is likely to be built near the Old Trafford Cricket Ground. The council said a new-build option, rather than a refurbishment of the existing centre, was “more cost-effective”.
Sale Leisure Centre is also included in the investment strategy, but the report says “further feasibility studies” are needed before concrete proposals can be brought forward.
Initial plans suggest a refurbishment of the centre on Broad Road would cost around £17m and would provide a gross internal area of 55,400 sq ft. However, the council stated the building was “approaching the end of its original design life” and refurbishment would “present a far greater risk from a cost and programme perspective”.
As a result, Trafford is looking to put together a further business case for a new-build option on the existing site, along with a residential development to help support the project.