Council brings forward £299,000 leisure centre investment

Work to refurbish two swimming pools is being brought forward after it was discovered that the move would reduce costs.

Almost £300,000 is set to be invested in completing swimming pool work by South Staffordshire Council in the coming financial year.

The work is taking place at Cheslyn Hay and Wombourne, while the reception area at Penkridge Leisure Centre is being refurbished.

The authority previously backed a series of recommendations for the district’s four leisure centres at a meeting in 2019.

A Google Street View image of Cheslyn Hay Leisure Centre

Mark Jenkinson, assistant director for community services, told a council cabinet meeting: “The initial figure agreed by members in May 2019 was £2.4m, which related to refurbishment of the pool areas at our leisure centre sites and improving parking provision alongside the provision of a 3G pitch at Wombourne Leisure Centre and the squash court at Codsall, transforming that space into a more usable community facility.

“Alongside the provision and decision initially agreed by members additional capital investment was included of £776,000 – this related to capital expenditure which was required at the leisure centres regardless of whether the £2.4m was agreed or not.

Identified

“If the council wanted to keep the leisure centres running over the next 10 years we are going to face a number of costs for replacement work, which ranges from air handling units and air conditioning to 3G carpet, pool area and pool plant infrastructure that would be required to be replaced.

“As part of the scoping work that has recently been carried out it’s been identified that three items that were initially identified as part of the original capital costs would be better to be brought forward at this point in time. Initial costings would be cheaper for us to carry out that work now, which would be a saving of £86,000 to the authority.

“The key reason why that work would be cheaper is contractors are already on site, so they would be able to provide a cheaper cost by carrying out works in one go, which would be better financially to the authority but also from a closure point of view.

“If we can get that work all picked up at the same time it means less disruption for our leisure centre members and schools, but it will also mean it hopefully doesn’t impact on income level by having multiple closures for work to be carried out at separate tines in the coming years.”

Cabinet members agreed to bring a £299,000 investment forward to enable the work to be carried out. They also agreed for amendments to be made the 2021/22 budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy, which are due to be considered by the full council at a meeting on February 23.

The leisure centres are currently closed due to the national lockdown.

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