Leisure Centre Sign

Cabinet Members are set to consider if a further £700,000 should be invested in Bromsgrove’s new multi-million-pound Leisure Centre.

At a meeting on June 1, Cabinet will be asked to recommend that Bromsgrove District Council fund the additional costs so the next stage of work can continue.

In July 2014 the Council agreed to set aside £11.5m to build the facility as the existing Dolphin Centre needed to be replaced because it was structurally deteriorating after more then 50 year in operation.

This was increased in January 2016 to £13m as a result of £1.5m of Sport England Funding being received.

In the past month as work progressed, the contractors highlighted that the project would be likely to incur extra costs due to a number of issues including the increasing costs of building works in the current market.

The land where the works were taking place also threw up some unexpected challenges, although a  feasibility study showed this was a suitable site to build a leisure centre, once nearby trees were removed, and ground survey undertaken, more remedial works were identified than originally identified.

There have also been changes to the design of the car park, due to the gradient and materials of the site, which will now be split over two levels increasing the costs.

Councillor Peter Whittaker, who is the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Cultural Services, said: “The extra costs initially put forward by our contractor were three times as much as this. But our officers carried out cost review exercises and negotiated successfully to ensure the extra charges were realistic and would still meet our high specifications to create a Leisure centre to be proud of.

“When embarking on a project of this magnitude, such changes to design and costs can be expected and our team will continue to work with the contractors to make sure we deliver what we said we would – if not better!”

Once completed in 2017, the facility will boast a swimming pool, dance studios, group cycling studio and a steam room and sauna.

Cllr Whittaker added: “Local Government faces some very tough financial challenges and although the costs are higher than anticipated we are confident that the revenue generated from the new centre will be enough to meet the additional borrowing costs.

“I know there is a perceived need for a Sports Hall but the cost of this would be more than double and the reality is, as shown by an independent study, there is an overprovision of sports halls in the District.

“And while we want to provide a Leisure Centre which will meet everyone’s needs, we have to make compromises and as part of this we are trying to work innovatively and go the extra mile to meet the demands of even more of our residents, who I hope will work with us.”

The Leisure Centre is still expected to open in Autumn 2017.