The vision of a new, sustainable leisure centre has moved a step closer with the submission of a planning application for a striking, modern facility on Moor Lane, Widnes.
Wates Construction Ltd has now formally submitted the application on behalf of Halton Borough Council for the proposed £20m facility which will replace the ageing, outdated Kingsway Leisure Centre.
It will include a 25m x 6-lane swimming pool with a learner pool and seating for around 150 people, 100-station gym and a 4 court sports hall.
In addition, it will have both a spinning and exercise studio, squash court, complementary facilities, soft play area, health consultation rooms and a café/social space.
If approved, the two-storey centre will provide a high quality, accessible and sustainable facility which is vibrant and welcoming, capable of supporting sport, health and wellbeing, and offers inclusive services for all.
It will support the Council’s vision of helping the inactive to become active and more residents to fulfil their potential by participating in sport and physical activity, thus improving their long-term health and wellbeing.
Halton Borough Council has been working with Wates Construction and Ellis Williams Architects of Runcorn, and the proposed centre has been designed to be more environmentally friendly with lower carbon emissions and reduced energy costs.
The creation of a modern, attractive building on the Moor Lane site will also serve to enhance the area and bring extra activity and footfall. It is anticipated that the centre would be open from 6.30am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 9pm at weekends.
There would be car parking for more than 150 vehicles and, in keeping with the project’s sustainability principles, five vehicle electric charging points with infrastructure to add up to 15 more.
Submission of the planning application is the latest stage of the programme drawn up with Wates NW agreed prior to the current lockdown restrictions. There will now be a period where residents can submit their comments on the proposals via the Council’s online planning portal https://webapp.halton.gov.uk/planningapps/ or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Phil Harris, the Council’s portfolio holder for sport and leisure, said: “The proposals are for a centre which is fit for purpose in terms of accessibility and sustainability. It will be open to all, with a design that is also dementia-friendly, and make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of our residents. We are also exploring virtual reality-related exercise in the spinning studio.
“Despite the standard 21 days, interested parties can send their comments to the planning department up until the application is due for determination, which will not be until the end of June at the earliest.”
Dave Saville, business unit director for Wates Construction in the North West, said: “This leisure centre represents a major placemaking opportunity for Widnes. Alongside Halton Council and our architects, we’ve carefully designed this project to meet the health and wellbeing needs of as many people as possible and provide a community hub which can be enjoyed for generations to come.
“Wates has a long history of building leisure projects like this, and we’ve drawn from the extensive experience across our teams to ensure these plans work for all stakeholders involved. We welcome all feedback on these designs and look forward to delivering this project efficiently and safely for the people of Widnes to enjoy.”