CWAC brings leisure developments to market

Cabinet members at Cheshire West & Chester Council will next week vote on plans to seek a leisure developer or operator to deliver a £59.5m building programme over the next five years.

CWAC has already set aside £31m from its capital budget for the new facilities, mainly in Chester and Ellesmere Port. Among the council's options is borrowing the remainder of the money needed or appointing a private sector partner who can bring additional finance.

Members meet on Wednesday 2 November to decide on the procurement of the partner. They will also be asked to agree Stanney Oaks as the preferred location for an £11m leisure and sports facility to replace Ellesmere Port's ageing EPIC centre.

The new centre would offer wet and dry sports facilities, a regional indoor sports arena and an events venue. Members will be asked to re-categorise the £5m redevelopment of Chester City Baths as priority one – bringing forward the project to 2011-14.

The proposals are part of a masterplan detailing ten schemes. Chester would benefit from a £15m sports and leisure centre, incorporating a regional diving centre. An additional £2m has been earmarked for the development of replacement outdoor provision within the city's green belt – if required. Since the masterplan was unveiled a year ago, council officers have been working with leisure specialist Knight Kavanagh Page to carry out detailed studies of existing leisure stock and identify potential funding sources.

Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: "We are now ready to identify a suitable partner to help us deliver this major investment which will provide the people of Chester and Ellesmere Port with top quality facilities designed to meet the highest standards required in future decades."

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