Great Sankey’s neighbourhood hub is on target to be fully open early next year after a troubled construction programme that has seen Warrington Council make more than 250 changes to the original scheme.
The £16m development is being built by Bam and the first phase was originally earmarked to open in autumn 2016. Parts of the scheme have opened as planned, and the project features a sports hall, exercise studios, a café, and a library.
However, other parts have been beset with delays, design issues, and unexpected problems, and last year council auditors said work had been “carried out in the context of a business case that had no approval, and a requirement for loans that had no approval”. The council has also made more than 250 changes to the project’s design, which have significantly added to the construction programme.
Although parts of the neighbourhood hub have been in use since last year, the swimming pool has not yet completed and Bam is now working to rectify a design error on this part of the project, which is expected to take 16 weeks to complete.
As a result, the leisure centre will not be fully open until early next year. Other issues have included asbestos, the pool’s filtration system, and the need to use parts of the building for school exams.
According to council minutes, Warrington said there would be an increase in cost on the project, which was originally budgeted at £16m, which would be “discussed with the contractors in due course”.
The council added that in relation to the issues with the pool filtration system, there was “a reasonable chance that monies would be recouped”.
LiveWire, which took over Warrington’s leisure centres in 2012, is the operator.
A spokesperson from Bam said: “Bam has been working with Warrington Borough Council since 2015 to redevelop the Great Sankey Leisure Centre. Since 2017 LiveWire and Great Sankey High School have been using some of the new facilities and feedback from LiveWire users has been very complimentary.
“However, it is a complex project and there have been some challenges along the way not least the unknown state and nature of the existing building’s construction. The Council has made 267 variations to the scheme along the way which we in Bam have done our best to accommodate.
“There were other unexpected issues to deal with too such as the discovery of asbestos in numerous locations.
“We are currently working to rectify a design error on the swimming pool installation and this is going to 16 weeks and that means the pool will not be available until early next year. We are doing everything we can to bring that date forward.
“All of us in Bam are committed to working positively with the WBC team to finish these state-of-the-art facilities so that the community can benefit fully from them.”