Trafford Council’s executive will next week be asked to approve the £6.4m refurbishment and extension of Urmston Leisure Centre as part of the borough’s November 2016 commitment to spending more than £24m on leisure facilities.
Gardiner & Theobald was appointed to project manage and lead a design team on the initial two projects, Urmston and Sale being scheduled ahead of Altrincham and Stretford’s respective centres.
Originally, the Urmston project was slated at £2.1m, including £767,000 of condition works. This scheme included a modern fitness suite, an updated pool viewing area and multi-use studios carved out of the existing sports hall.
The design team, along with the council’s leisure project board, has challenged the scheme, according to a report to the executive from Joanne Hyde, corporate director of resources, which stated:
“The aim of this review was to optimise an increase in income levels; improve the aesthetic appeal of the building whilst bringing the standard of the leisure centre into the 21st century; and future-proof the building as much as possible, with the addition of more flexible space and better utilisation of the building footprint.”
Plans include an extension for studio space, rather than reducing the sports hall; a new reception area, the introduction of space at first floor level for soft play areas and ‘clip and climb’ walls, improved parking and works to provide a “striking visual impact”.
G&T has assembled a professional team including 5plus as architect, Hoare Lea on M&E and HL Structural Engineers.
The improvements are to be paid for partly by capital receipts, while an additional £1.15m for the financial year 2017-2018 is being requested to add to the £2.7m already ringfenced.
The report stated that any future decision in relation to the George H Carnall Leisure Centre is unrelated to this project, and will be subject of a future report. A petition protesting that centre’s rumoured closure gained a degree of public support last autumn.
In Sale, plans have not advanced at the same speed. As in Urmston though, costs look likely to escalate beyond those initially budgeted for, with Hyde’s report stating that additional costs have been identified by the project team at what was due to be a £4.4m project. The executive will hear more at a future date.