Plans for the new Halifax Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool have taken a step forward following a review of the leisure services provided by the Council in the town.
In November 2022, Calderdale Council had to halt the progress of the new Leisure Centre at North Bridge due to rising inflation, which made the projected cost of the project unsustainable.
The subsequent review examined the Council’s options for future leisure services in Halifax. It assessed the cost of the proposed Leisure Centre and Pool scheme and explored the possibility of reopening the former Halifax Pool building on Skircoat Road as an alternative.
Working alongside an architect and a cost consultant, the Council has modified, simplified, and tested the plans for the scheme. Some facilities, including the Wellness Suite, steam room, and sauna, have been removed to ensure the project can be delivered within the available budget.
Councillor Jane Scullion, Leader of the Council, expressed optimism about the progress, stating, “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.”
“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,” added Councillor Scullion.
The team has already managed to reduce the overall project costs by approximately 6-10%, bringing it closer to the approved budget. Ongoing efforts will be made to identify further cost savings as the plans progress.
The final design for the leisure centre and pool is expected to be completed by early 2024, with contractors invited to submit cost proposals in the spring.
The leisure services review also considered the option of refurbishing Halifax Pool on Skircoat Road and examined the potential costs involved.
A survey conducted in January 2023 assessed the condition of the building, which has continued to deteriorate since its closure in 2021.
There is substantial evidence of concrete failure and corrosion of the steelwork within the building’s structure. The roof is unsafe, and it is likely that the cladding system on the external walls has also deteriorated.
Significant repairs are required for the pool tank, and many doors and windows would need replacement.
The pool, which opened in 1966, clearly poses safety risks due to the extensive structural damage. Moreover, the refurbishment needed to bring it up to modern standards would not be economically viable.
Consequently, the building will be demolished, and the site will be made available for redevelopment.
Calderdale Council received £12.2 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support the development of the new leisure centre and swimming pool.