Salford City Council has progressed its plans for a £16.5m leisure centre off Churchill Way by appointing the contractor to provide pre-contract professional services for the scheme.
Willmott Dixon Construction was procured through the Procure Partnership North West Framework, which also includes Kier, Morgan Sindall Construction, Wates, BAM Construction, Galliford Try, Interserve, and Laing O’Rourke.
Willmott Dixon has been appointed at an early stage in the project’s delivery, before a planning application has been submitted, to “obtain input on buildability, sequencing and subcontractor selection”, according to a report to Salford City Council’s procurement board.
While the contractor has not officially been appointed to build the facility, the aforementioned report said the early appointment of a construction firm could facilitate a quicker start on site, suggesting Willmott Dixon is likely to see the scheme through to completion.
The leisure centre is to be built on cleared land between Brydon Close and Holcombe Close that previously housed Pendleton’s High Street Estate.
Earlier this year, GT3 Architects was appointed to design the leisure centre.
The architecture studio is drawing up detailed proposals for the Pendleton project with a view to submitting a planning application this summer.
The council has also submitted a bid for around £6m to government agency Sport England to part-fund the scheme.
Under the plans, the new sports centre would feature artificial football pitches, a gym, and other community uses as well as a swimming pool and sports courts.
Plans for a leisure centre in Pendleton have been in the pipeline since 2016 when the council published its Indoor Sport & Leisure Facilities Assessment Report.
The report, which outlined a £30m plan to improve the local authority’s sports centres, proposed closing down the borough’s Clarendon and Ordsall facilities, replacing them with a new £15m leisure centre in Pendleton.
The new facility is expected to generate an additional £380,000 in revenue for the council every year, according to the report.
In addition to the Pendleton facility, the council’s indoor sports plan put forward outline proposals for a £12m facility to serve Swinton and Pendlebury, while centres in Worsley, Eccles and Broughton would be upgraded.
GT3 Architects has a track record of designing similar schemes such as the £21.5m Sands Centre in Carlisle.