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Northgate Arena faces demolition

CHESTER'S Northgate Arena could be demolished and replaced with a new leisure centre.

CHESTER'S Northgate Arena could be demolished and replaced with a new leisure centre.

Council officers are considering the plans to improve facilities and cut spiralling maintenance costs.

It is one of a series of options being considered by Chester City Council as part of a review of the future of the centre.

Although the building is not in serious decline, it requires heavier maintenance now than at any time in its history and many of its sporting facilities are out-of-date.

The total cost of supporting the Northgate Arena is £1m per year, representing 20pc of the net expenditure of the council's culture and leisure service.

The council has already carried out studies into the options of rebuilding the centre and refurbishing the existing building.

It is now investigating possible sources of funding to establish which would be the most viable.

The council's head of culture and leisure, Paul Gover, said: "Every building reaches a point in its life when it needs significant refurbishment.

"The Northgate Arena, having been built in the mid-1970s, is at this stage so we have begun looking at the possibility of refurbishing or rebuilding it.

"The centre is by no means falling down, but is it is very heavily used, and we have to consider that public expectation of the facilities available changes over time.

"It is too early to say what might happen because we don't know what funding is available yet. But our priority is to improve and maintain the Northgate Arena facility."

The centre features two pools, three sports halls, three squash courts, three dedicated fitness areas including a gymnasium, a cafe, bar and function room.

Its main pool has a 69-metre flume, poolside sauna and steam cabins, and is used for aquatic sports such as canoeing and sub-aqua.

Northgate Arena is Chester's main leisure centre and is home to several sports clubs, including the Chester Jets basketball team.

Team spokesman Joe Lofthouse said: "We play in the sports hall and we have discussed with Northgate Arena a number of improvements we would like to see."


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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