Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A New Swimming Pool A step Closer

10:20am Friday 22nd June 2012 Worcester News Article A NEW £13 million swimming pool could be built in Worcester – with council chiefs calling it a “golden opportunity to create something great”. The city council’s cabinet has formally backed an option to build a new pool next to Perdiswell Leisure Centre. It will be include a 25-metre, eight-lane pool, a learner pool, 150-station gym, dance studios, creche, 250 seats for spectators and parking for up to 350 cars. The two five-a-side football pitches will be resurfaced and rearranged. The council will launch a public consultation in September and October to make sure the public’s view does not differ from its own, and is seeking funding. The current building will be demolished once the new leisure centre is open, which is estimated to be February 2016. Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy leader of Worcester City Council and the cabinet member responsible for regeneration, said: “This is £13 million worth of investment. "That’s the most money I’ve heard of us putting into a project in the time I’ve been on this council.” Councillor Roger Knight, cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: “This is a golden opportunity to create something great for the future of Worcester.” A report prepared by consultants estimated about 692,000 people will use the new centre a year, more than double the current number at Perdiswell. The current leisure centre, which dates back to 1981, loses £346,000 a year mainly due to its high maintenance costs, but the new centre is forecast to make £342,000. Neil Monkhouse, chairman of Worcester Swimming Club, said: “We fully support this – the reputation of Worcester would be greatly enhanced. “This won’t be just for the kids of today, it will be for their kids’ kids.” The council has earmarked £250,000 towards the next steps of the project, some of which will be spent on developing a full business case. It is aiming for outline planning permission to be secured in January, with a final decision in the hands of councillors in February. They will be asked to back a funding model in the form of a loan or grants. Detailed planning permission will be sought by March 2013, with work aiming to start a month later. Council officers are also looking at options for retaining the existing golf course, but details on that will only be known once the final planning application is submitted around November next year. (Cllr Jabba Riaz Cabinet Member for Sports Development said "We are keen to get this right, a full public consultation will be conducted and it will go back to scrutiny as many times as it needs to") Under the plan the swimming pool at Sansome Walk would close once the new pool is open. When it comes to funding, there is no guarantee council tax would not go up to help fund it, although the Conservative administration wants to freeze rates next year. The council aims to fund the pool by taking out loans and applying for grants.

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