New leisure centre takes a leap forward

Date published: 26 October 2010

Rochdale Borough Council has signed the contract for the construction of Rochdale’s new leisure centre.

Plans for the building include an eight-lane 25m swimming pool and learner pool with moveable floor, as well as a sports hall, thermal spa, fitness suite, dance studios and youth gym. Over 160 car park spaces will also be available for centre users free of charge.

The new centre will be built just yards from the existing Central Leisure on Entwisle Road, which will remain open during the building of the new centre. Work on the site is due to start in the next couple of weeks and completion is planned for 2012, to coincide with the London Olympic Games.

Councillor David Clayton, Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said: “This is going to be a great new centre. In recent months we’ve heard of many local authorities having to take difficult decisions and close sports and leisure centres, but we feel it’s vital that we offer fantastic fitness facilities that will encourage people to get fit and stay healthy.”

Craig McAteer, Managing Director of Link4Life, confirmed that the Rochdale centre is the final project in a three-year programme of investment delivering modern, high quality sports and leisure facilities under the management of Link4Life, the Rochdale Borough-wide Cultural Trust. With the completion of Middleton Arena and Heywood Sports Village it will be the third £10 million plus centre to open in the borough since 2009.

He said, “With the launch of the Trust, £34 million was committed by Rochdale Borough Council for capital projects with Link4Life making a significant contribution to this from planned efficiency savings. From an original like-for-like replacement the project has now been enhanced to include a full dryside facility and this is fantastic news for local people and a major achievement for the town.”

The contractor, Willmott Dixon, has more than 25 years of experience in delivering leisure and culture facilities and in the last decade has built over 100 pools and 70 leisure facilities. The company has constructed a 50m Olympic training pool at the University of Surrey and one of its most recent projects is the international pool in Corby, which will also be a training venue in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.

Willmott Dixon’s Managing Director for the North West, Anthony Dillon, said: “It’s great news for all the team that we have signed the contract. We already have a big presence in Rochdale though our work on St Anne’s Academy in Middleton, and like that project we will aim to ensure our work benefits local businesses as much as possible through the sub contractors we use.”

Service Director for Regeneration at Rochdale Council, John Percival, said: “This is another major step in the regeneration of Rochdale town centre and change is really happening for all to see. Along with work starting for the new sports and leisure centre, just further along the road the new Aldi store is opening and then on Smith Street the clearance of the site for the new customer service centre, library and council offices is well underway.

“The new Rochdale Sixth Form College is already open and work is starting to bring Metrolink to the train station by 2012 and into the town centre by 2014. Within two years this area will be transformed and then demolition of buildings such as the Municipal Offices, the bus station and car park will begin to make way for a multi-million pound retail and leisure development.”

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