Countdown begins to Northwich ‘Memorial Centre’

A timeline for the delivery of a £12.5m leisure and cultural centre for Northwich has been unveiled.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Executive last week gave approval for the state-of-the-art facility to be built on the site of the Memorial Hall.

An outline design is expected to go before the Council and the Weaver Valley Partnership Board in the New Year. A contractor will then be appointed to deliver the development, which has a working title of ‘Memorial Centre’ to retain the sentiments of the publicly funded building it will replace.

Meanwhile, negotiations are ongoing with the Crown Prosecution Service on the Council’s proposed purchase of the adjacent land occupied by the Magistrates Court, which recently closed.

Residents, businesses and other interested parties will be able to view and comment on the initial proposals during a six-week public consultation beginning in February. Subject to planning approval, construction is expected to be underway by the spring of 2013, with the facility opening to the public in 2014.

Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, said: “We are now entering an exciting phase where our plans for a leisure and cultural centre for Northwich can really start to take shape.

“Early next year we will be ready to share our outline designs with the local community, who will be able to view and comment on the proposals.

“All feedback received during the consultation will be considered as part of the process to develop a final design, to ensure we deliver a first-class facility for the people of Northwich that meets their needs and aspirations.”

Geoff Hope-Terry, Chairman of the Weaver Valley Partnership Board, said, “The new centre is an important part of our whole-town approach to the regeneration of Northwich and it is great news that Cheshire West and Chester Council is taking it forward.

“We are determined to have a building that makes a positive statement in this prime site and it also gives us a golden opportunity to open up one of the water frontages, which will also be a huge benefit to the town.”

The Council has earmarked £12.5m from its capital programme for the centre, which will offer wet and dry sports including a pool, dance studios and a gym, as well as cultural facilities. The authority has assigned the project ‘priority one’ status in its £59.5m masterplan to transform the borough’s leisure facilities over the next decade.