Leisure centre hopes downplayed

Cheshire East Council say talk of a new leisure centre for Middlewich is 'premature'.

Councillor Bernice Walmsley, Middlewich First, revealed last week that an agreement had been reached for a new £2.5 million leisure centre for the town.

It followed the decision to invest £14.5 million in Everybody Sport and Recreation facilities over the next three years as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, approved by full council last month.

But in a statement released today, Councillor Liz Wardlaw, cabinet member for health on Cheshire East Council, insists that the details on how that cash will be spent are yet to be confirmed.

She said: “While I am pleased that council approval has been given to support the wider future investment in leisure facilities across Cheshire East, including Middlewich, speculation as to how the investment will be spent is premature.

“We have yet to begin any process regarding this potential investment and a business case has yet to be put in place before any detailed plans can be progressed.

“It is correct that there has been a decision to earmark £14.5 million over three years for investment in Everybody Sport and Recreation – the borough’s leisure trust – but, as yet, a business plan is not in place.

“The next stage will be for the council and Everybody Sport and Recreation to work together on a detailed business case to support this process.

“Following this, all stakeholders will be consulted before a final decision is made and, therefore, it is too soon to discuss this in any further detail.”

Cllr Walmsley said last week that an agreement for £2.5 million to be spent on a new leisure centre had been agreed following ‘extensive discussions’ between Cllr Wardlaw, Everybody Sport and Recreation and Middlewich’s borough councillors.

Her statement was also published on the Middlewich First Facebook page, with a further comment from Councillor Simon McGrory suggesting that £2.5 million will be spent ‘to improve and increase much-needed facilities’.

“I am pleased that we have attracted this much-needed investment to Middlewich,” Cllr Walmsley said last Thursday.

“Detailed work will now begin to plan this exciting new development and I look forward to the benefit it will bring to our town.

“It is a credit to all concerned that we have been able to work together to consider the most effective leisure investment for the area.”


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