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£8m redevelopment of Congleton Leisure Centre approved

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 12:35pm

By Jenny Bonson & Stephen Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to renovate Congleton Leisure Centre have been given the green light by councillors.

Cheshire East Council’s northern planning committee unanimously approved plans to transform the current site, in Worrall Street, with a new swimming pool and a refurbished sports hall and gym.

The £8 million project could start as early as May, and is expected to be completed by autumn 2020.

Under the plans, the existing swimming pool will be demolished, and replaced with a six-lane pool and a new learner pool.

The proposals also feature a community meeting spaces, soft play area, café and state-of-the-art gym facilities over two floors.

Planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval before the meeting, and neither Congleton Town Council nor Sport England objected to the plans.

However, CEC received 30 objections to the development – including one from Dane Valley Amateur Swimming Club, which argued the pool needs two extra lanes to host galas.

Other objectors criticised a reduction in the number of badminton and squash courts in the new leisure centre and a lack of cycling facilities – highlighted by sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Part of the extended leisure centre is to be built onto a small playing field which is currently used by Congleton Rugby Club for training.

An area of the existing leisure centre car park is to be replaced with grass as a replacement space for the club – with the new-look centre set to feature an improved car park.

Welcoming the scheme, Cllr Nick Mannion, Labour, said: “This is a great improvement over what was the original proposal.

“It updates a facility in the growing town of Congleton and it protects the thriving rugby club.”

The skatepark behind Congleton Leisure Centre will be closed while the old swimming pool is demolished and the new one is built, but CEC says it wants to discuss the possibility of a temporary replacement with skaters.

A 10-week leisure centre closure is also expected to take place for health and safety reasons while the old pool is demolished.

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