Trafford Council has moved forward with plans to build a new £20m leisure centre in Altrincham by starting the search for a contractor to deliver the project, which is expected to complete in 2022.
Altrincham is one of two leisure centre projects, along with Stretford, that has been backed by Trafford Council.
The latest proposals for Altrincham are over three storeys, and 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. There will also be a large “changing village” included in the plans.
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 two-year build period before being replaced with new swimming facilities; the site of the former pool will be left clear for future development.
Trafford is also looking at the option of including a 500-space multi-storey car park as part of the new leisure centre.
Overall, the project has a construction cost of around £20m, and will be delivered on a design-and-build basis. It is scheduled to complete in the first quarter of 2022, and bids for the project by contractors are anticipated by the middle of December this year.
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 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 move is part of a wider leisure investment strategy that also features a redevelopment of Urmston leisure centre, which is due to start on site in the New Year with Willmott Dixon on board as main contractor.
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.
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”.