Council gives green light to delayed leisure centre plans

Plans for the new Halifax leisure centre and swimming pool have moved a step closer following a review of the leisure services offered by Calderdale Council in the town.

In November 2022 the council paused development of the leisure centre at North Bridge pending after rising inflation meant unsustainable project costs.

The council has now been adapted and simplified plans with advice from an architect and cost consultant, removing some of the facilities, such as the wellness suite, steam room and sauna, to make sure it can be delivered using the available project budget.

Council leader Coun. Jane Scullion, Leader of the Council said: “This is very encouraging news and gives us real grounds for optimism.  We made the very difficult decision in the Autumn to pause the programme because the financial risk to the Council was too great.  It’s essential that this project, which is so important to the town, is sustainable.

Coun Jane Scullion

“Since then, officers have been working hard to rationalise and refine the proposals, reducing costs wherever possible but still making sure that we will have fantastic new leisure facilities which are accessible and affordable.”

The team has already reduced the total project costs by an estimated 6-10%, bringing it close to the approved budget for the scheme.  Work will continue to identify further cost savings as the plans are developed.

The new design for the leisure centre and pool should be finalised by early 2024, with contractors invited to submit cost proposals in the spring.

The leisure services review also explored the potential cost of refurbishing Halifax Pool in Skircoat Road, but found large parts of the building’s structure are now no longer safe and that the extent of the refurbishment required to bring it to modern standards would not be economically viable.

The building will now be demolished, and the site made available for redevelopment.

Calderdale Council was awarded £12.2 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support the development.