'No late major changes' set to be made to design of new Halifax leisure centre scheme

No late major changes look set to be made to the design when a new leisure centre and swimming pool is built in Calderdale.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 21st January 2022, 3:00 pm
Artist impression of new Halifax leisure centre
Artist impression of new Halifax leisure centre

This week Calderdale Council’s Cabinet agreed to recommend to the full council that it continues to back the existing “vision” to deliver the new centre in Halifax “in line with the November 2021 cost plan and associated operations management plan.”

And a planning application to demolish the existing North Bridge Leisure Centre and build the new centre has a “deemed permit” recommendation – it will be debated by the council’s Planning Committee when it meets on January 25.

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Cabinet agreed to support demolition and building the new centre, subject to full council’s support for its other recommendations which include necessary financial decisions.

If full council backs this course it would appear to finally rule out any late changes to the scheme which has been controversial as some users of the now-closed former Halifax Swimming Pool at Skircoat Road, including Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club, say issues relating to the depth of the proposed new pool means they will not be able to use it.

Cabinet members from the council’s ruling Labour group say making the change would add £2 million to the cost of the new centre, risks losing Government funding from the Levelling Up fund which has been made available because timescales would be too tight to redraw plans, and the new pool will meet the needs of 98 per cent of previous pool users.

The item was debated by Cabinet without the public or media present because discussion would involve revealing information relating to financial or business affairs of any particular person including the authority, but decision details have now been released.

When the full council next meets, councillors will also be asked to back Cabinet’s recommendation that the scheme be included in the authority’s capital programme to be funded by prudential borrowing – special rates councils are allowed to borrow at – and approve additional revenue to cover the borrowing and contingency amounts of around £100,000 in 2022-23.

The council’s Deputy Leader, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) presented the briefing paper to Cabinet colleagues.

The paper updated progress of the project, covering design development and operations management planning phases, covered background on decisions made to date and provided options for delivering elements of the new building’s construction.

Coun Scullion said the report outlined how the new Halifax Leisure Centre was compatible with the council’s overall vision and strategies for economic development, the visitor economy and health and wellbeing.

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