The reopening of community sports facilities in Kidsgrove will take a huge step forward next week as Newcastle’s Cabinet is set to approve the latest refurbishment plans and funding structure.
Earlier this year, the Cabinet confirmed its support for this hugely significant project with a pledge of £5.6million from Council funds and contributions from Staffordshire County Council and Sport England.
Since then a series of detailed surveys have provided much more information on the building’s condition, allowing the cost estimates to be realistically firmed up.
The new report updates the target cost of the overall project to £5.998m, an increase of just under £400k. The report maintains, however, that this is the best option for value for money and the longevity of the centre, which is around another 25 years.
The Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Simon Tagg said: “Since April, and the Council’s renewed commitment, a great deal of work has taken place to move the project on and to make sure that the centre will fit the needs of the community.
“Excellent progress has been made by all parties, which is all the more pleasing considering the Covid-19 restrictions we have been dealing with. We are now in a position to take another major step forward with the community group being involved at every phase.”
Extensive consultation has taken place. Independent consultants have heard from a range of Kidsgrove’s communities and key stakeholders including schools, community groups and sports organisations from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and the community interest organisation (CIO) Kidsgrove Community Group.
Mark Clews, a Kidsgrove resident and spokesperson for the CIO, added: “We’re at a key stage in the reopening now, as plans for the redevelopment of the sports centre are finalised. It is great to be developing good quality leisure facilities that will meet the needs of the community for many years to come. “This has been a lot of hard work, of course, but we have made sure that we have listened to all voices on what is wanted and needed at the centre to get things just right for everyone. I am confident that we now have the strong plans in place to make this centre a huge success in the coming years and to be a much-valued community facility.”
The report is being presented to Cabinet alongside reviewed designs to make the most efficient use of the available space which have been worked up after many meetings with specialist architects, the CIO, and developers Willmott Dixon.
The additional £398k outlined in the report may be funded by a successful bid as part of Kidsgrove’s Town Deal but if necessary it will be allocated from the Council’s existing capital programme.
Cabinet will review the plans and the funding proposals at its meeting on 9 September 2020.