Wigan picks PFI consortium for town centre complex

A consortium led by Hochtief PPP Solutions and Morgan Ashurst is to build and manage a new central library and swimming pool in Wigan town centre under a private finance initiative.

The Access consortium contract for the Joint Service Centre will see a range of public leisure, health, information and emergency services housed in two landmark buildings.

The scheme will take over two years to build, starting on site in September this year, and will replace the Municipal Buildings (while preserving the terracotta façade), the Wiend children's library and International Pool.

Wigan was granted £67m of PFI credits that means the private sector bears the initial building and running costs, which are paid back over 25 years using the government credits. Then the building belongs to the council.

The total value of the scheme including receipts from asset sales of council and partners buildings amounts to £187m.

Wigan Council leader Peter Smith said: "By joining up public services in this way we'll be able to sort out most people's enquiries at the first point of contact. It will create truly accessible, high quality public services that put the customer first in all parts of our borough."

He added: "This is one of the most ambitious council schemes being undertaken in the UK and we been able to prove beyond doubt that we are capable of delivering it successfully."

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