The council’s executive board will be asked to approve updated plans to drive forward the development of Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub.
The project – to transform the existing leisure centre into an integrated state-of-the-art facility that provides leisure, health, and cultural services – has been progressing since 2015 with key partners in the town, including LiveWire and Warrington Borough Council, working closely together on its development.
However, during the construction process, complex challenges with the building process have arisen due to the age of the original building.
Therefore, the recommendation is being made to the executive board that Warrington & Co – with their expertise and experience in managing the council’s capital investment programmes – assume responsibility of the project as part of its construction portfolio.
LiveWire will continue to work closely with Warrington & Co and Warrington Borough Council in its operational role to deliver a range of services from the building. The community interest company will also manage the building once it’s open to the public.
At the executive board meeting on Monday 10 July, executive board members will also be asked to recommend changes to how the project is financed.
The council had previously approved a series of loans to LiveWire, but it is now recommended that the local authority funds the project directly and take control of any external grants which have been awarded to LiveWire by national funding bodies to deliver the project.
Cllr Russ Bowden, deputy leader of the council and executive board member for corporate finance, said: “We are determined to deliver a fantastic scheme that benefits members of the community, not only in west Warrington, but across the borough.
“With the challenges that have arisen and with the savings that can be made through reduced VAT exposure, it makes sense for the council and Warrington & Co to manage the development of the project to its conclusion, whilst working closely with LiveWire to utilise their expertise in delivering the town’s leisure and health and wellbeing services.”
It is also recommended that leasing arrangements for Great Sankey Leisure Centre be amended to reflect the council’s additional responsibility for the neighbourhood hub development.
The proposal is for the council to accept a surrender of the existing thirty-year lease and simultaneously grant LiveWire a new lease for the completed neighbourhood hub for a term of thirty years at an open market rent.
A report will be presented to the next executive board meeting at the Town Hall on Monday 10 July at 6.30pm.