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November 14, 2013
Workington's new leisure centre will be built close to the town centre by local firms, councillors agreed today.
Allerdale council’s ruling executive met to agree how to proceed with plans to replace the town’s 1970s leisure centre, which has reached the end of its life.
Considering three options, councillors voted to build a leisure centre and provide space for a linked family entertainment centre at Brow Top car park and part of The Cloffocks.
The option was the most popular in a public consultation.
They added that the underpass taking Central Way into Brow Top car park would not be closed, something the council had said was a possibility when the proposed sites were revealed.
The other options were to build a leisure centre alone on Brow Top car park or to put the new centre next to the existing Moorclose site.
The leisure and family entertainment centre plan was the most popular of three options in a public consultation, with 46 per cent of respondents calling for it.
Forty four per cent wanted the leisure centre at Moorclose and 10 per cent wanted just a leisure centre at Brow Top car park.
Councillors voted only to build the £9.3 million leisure centre part of the two phase plan, which will be on The Cloffocks next to the existing car park.
In the second phase, private-sector developers would be invited to develop a family entertainment centre on the car park site.
It could include facilities like a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, which could be new or moving businesses.
The leisure centre, which will replace the town’s 1970s leisure centre and separate pools, is due to open in November 2015. The council has already held initial talks about the second phase and is keen for developers to take it forward.
Councillor Mike Heaslip, executive member responsible for locality services, warned that it could not fund that side of the building project. He said: “That decision will be for investors. We are not proposing to risk any council money on that.
“The saga of the swimming pool and sports centre in Workington has gone on for many years. We are, today, at a very significant milestone.”
Councillor Phil Tibble said: “The chance of us developing the side of the River Derwent has been close to our hearts for a long time. The commercial impact it might have on the town, particularly if phase two goes ahead, is added value.”
Council leader Alan Smith said the project fitted in with an ongoing review of sports provision across the borough, which could see new developments elsewhere in the coming years.
The executive agreed to go ahead with the Brow Top and Cloffocks option and talk to the county council and community representatives about retaining some sports provision at Moorclose.