New Prescot centre given approval

Knowlsey Council has approved £1.4m plans for a new community leisure facility on Warrington Road in Prescot.

The new facility will be built on the site of the 90 year old Prescot Leisure Centre, which is considered to be in very poor condition.

The council said it was decided on 20 October that a budget of £1.4m would not be used to fund a refurbishment of the existing building, but would be used to provide a facility that will include a fitness suite, multi-function area and changing facilities with a focus on outdoor sports.

The Labour-run council said discussions with an unnamed freeholder have been taking place regarding plans for the site.

The council added it will be supporting the boxing club, currently based at the leisure centre, to find alternative accommodation.

Knowsley Park Centre for Learning and St Edmund Arrowsmith Centre for Learning will be able to offer alternative accommodation for other groups based at the leisure centre.

The current leisure centre is managed by Prescot Council, which is led by Ian Smith who is a Liberal Democrat councillor at Knowsley Council.

In February 2009, Knowsley Council said a cabinet report stated there would be additional investment at the Prescot Leisure Centre site, improving leisure provision and linking to the broader development of Prescot.

Knowsley Council said it paid for condition surveys to be carried out which identified that significant work was required to bring the building up to an acceptable standard. This would mean that the investment budget would be used to bring the building back up to an acceptable standard as opposed to improving the leisure provision in the area.

Knowsley Council said five councillors had "called in" last month's approval decision on the grounds that the cabinet had changed its mind since February 2009. The councillors had also queried the council's approach to a consultation event on 6 October and other discussions with stakeholders.

Through a "call-in" mechanism, Knowsley Council said scrutiny committees have the opportunity to scrutinise cabinet decisions before they are implemented.

At a health and wellbeing scrutiny committee on Tuesday, the committee considered all the issues and dismissed the request for the call-in and let the cabinet decision stand with immediate effect.

In reaching the decision, the committee was satisfied with the explanations given and that there were no justifiable reasons to delay the decision.

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