Architect 5plus and Trafford Council are inviting public views on redesigned proposals for Urmston leisure centre over the next month after submitting a fresh application for the £6.4m project.
Trafford Council first submitted a planning application for an overhaul of the leisure centre last year, which featured a glazed extension of the 1990s leisure centre, including the addition of a café, three studios, a party room, fitness suite, and changing facilities.
The front of the existing building, covering 31,400 sq ft, was to be extensively remodelled to create a reception and entrance area.
However, the updated design features a removal of the front section of the building, which the council said had a “complicated arrangement of rooms, structure, and low rise roof forms” which did not “lend themselves to an open, inviting entrance to the leisure space”.
The pool and sports hall are both to be retained and refurbished, while the double-height reception, entrance, and café space will be at the centre of the building. A glazed frontage featuring an indoor climbing wall will face improved public realm to the front, while the fitness suites will focus on “colourful pods” rather than being “in rooms off corridors”.
A central changing room area will be housed in one of the central two-storey pods, while the 100-station fitness suite and gym at mezzanine level will be visible from the ground floor. There will also be children’s soft play areas and two part rooms.
Construction firm Willmott Dixon was picked to deliver the project in January last year; as of last year, the project’s development value stood at £6.4m. The company confirmed it was still attached as contractor when contacted by Place North West.
Trafford Council is now consulting on the plans and is inviting residents to have their say on the project at a dedicated website, which can be accessed here. This will remain open until 27 September.
Subject to a positive planning decision in early November, construction could start in January 2019 with completion pencilled in for December the same year.
The works will be phased to keep as many of the existing facilities open as possible during construction.
Cllr Kevin Procter, Trafford Council’s executive member for communities and housing said: “As a Council we are committed to improving the leisure centre and creating opportunities for people to be active and stay healthy. We all know how important exercise is in preventing illness and improving wellbeing and happiness.”
Since an original funding package was agreed in November 2016, the project has seen costs more than treble. Originally set to cost £2.1m, the scheme has been radically overhaul, with the addition of a larger fitness space, a first floor, and an enhanced reception area all now included in the project.
Existing facilities, including a swimming pool and sports hall, will also be upgraded as part of the plans. These works were expected to cost £770,000, but this increased to £1.2m following a report to the council by project manager Gardiner & Theobald.
The extension forms part of the council’s plans to invest in local leisure centres, including Urmston and Sale, which is expected to cost around £30m.
This is around £6m more than originally anticipated, with a capital investment package of £24.4m agreed in November 2016.
In September 2017, the council also agreed to “explore further options and opportunities” for Sale Leisure Centre, following a report by its design team. The refurbishment and improvement was originally set to cost £4.4m, but the executive said it would need “further time to consider the full range of options”, with proposals set to be considered at a future council meeting.