Trafford Council’s planning committee is set to give the green light to a £6.4m redevelopment of Urmston Leisure Centre, paving the way for construction to start in January.
A planning application was first lodged for the project, designed by architect 5plus, in November last year but was overhauled with a fresh application submitted this summer.
Under the refreshed plans, the front section of the building will be removed and replaced with a double-height reception, entrance, and café space 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”. The pool and sports hall are both to be retained and refurbished.
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 party 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.
Since an original funding package was agreed in November 2016, the project has seen costs more than treble – it was originally set to cost £2.1m. The pool upgrade 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 project is set to complete in 2020; once it completes, Trafford will then move forward with the redevelopment of the George H Carnall Leisure Centre. The council has already started the search for a development partner for the site and will hold a public consultation on its plans early next year.
It was previously mooted to house an arena for the Manchester Giants basketball team, but these plans look unlikely to progress.