The countdown to a £12.5 entertainment and leisure facility for the people of Northwich is officially underway.
Details of the proposed timescale for delivering the state-of-the-art centre were outlined yesterday (Tuesday) to Memorial Hall users and staff.
Representatives from Cheshire West and Chester Council also explained the likely impact on activities while construction is underway on the site of the Memorial Hall and former magistrates court.
The Memorial Hall is proposed to close in February 2013 to enable site preparation to begin the following month – subject to planning approval.
As part of an ongoing engagement process, managers will work with user groups to help them identify alternative venues until the opening of the new centre, scheduled for January 2015.
Meanwhile, users and staff at Moss Farm Leisure Complex were yesterday given details of the key role it is proposed to have in partnership with the new development.
Once the state-of-the-art wet and dry sports facilities at the new centre are open, it is proposed to de-commission the pool, gym and squash provision at Moss Farm.
The move would see Moss Farm adopt a new role in the Council’s leisure portfolio as an exemplar outdoor sports facility.
Moss Farm users will be asked for their views during a consultation starting next month and extending through to the summer. All feedback will be considered when a decision is taken in December.
Councillor Stuart Parker, Executive Member for Culture and Regeneration, said: “We wanted to share our proposals with users and staff of the Memorial Hall and Moss Farm at the earliest opportunity.
“We will work with all Memorial Hall user groups over the next 12 months to help them make alternative arrangements for their activities while construction is underway.
“At Moss Farm, we will be engaging with users about how they see the future role of this key facility and how this will complement the new indoor provision.
“We have reassured staff at both sites that we will keep them informed at every stage leading up to the opening of the new centre.”
Geoff Hope-Terry, Chair of the Weaver Valley Partnership Board, said: “As well as being an important development in terms of the new facilities, the proposed centre will also occupy a key site for the regeneration of the town.
“With that in mind I would urge local residents and other interested parties to take a full part in the upcoming consultations to make sure they are happy with the building’s design and content.”
Residents, businesses and other interested parties will be able to view the proposals and make suggestion during a six-week public consultation beginning in April.
All feedback will be considered when a detailed scheme is worked up and residents will be invited to give their views before a final design is submitted for planning approval in spring 2013.
Councillor Parker added: “This exciting development represents a major investment in entertainment and leisure in Northwich – providing facilities of a standard which far surpasses anything currently available in the town.
“The community will soon have the opportunity to comment on the initial proposals as we enter the first stage of an ongoing communication and consultation process.”
A contractor is expected to be appointed to the project in June.
Future updates on the proposals will be posted on the Weaver Valley Partnership Board website at www.weavervalley.org.uk.