A ground-breaking ceremony has been held on site of the new Ellesmere Port Sport and Leisure Village to mark the start of construction at Cheshire West and Chester Council’s flagship leisure development on Stanney Lane.

The milestone event saw Wates Construction welcome Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member, culture and recreation and Cllr Bob Crompton, mayor of Ellesmere Port and local councillors, on site to celebrate the start of the £15m project.

Facilities at the development are set to include an eight-court sports hall with a seating capacity for 1,400, an eight-lane 25m swimming pool, an 80-station gym and dance and fitness studios.

Funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Sports England, the new 6,000 sq m building has been designed by Ellis Williams and will provide enhanced leisure facilities for the town, replacing Ellesmere Port Indoor Centre (EPIC).

The council’s executive member for culture and economy, Cllr Stuart Parker, said: “This ambitious project is a huge investment by the council and shows our commitment to providing our residents with a state-of-the-art new sports and leisure village.

“We want to see the new facility become a focal hub for the town’s communities as well as offering residents, and indeed visitors from further afield, high-class facilities and an opportunity to try out new sports for a reasonable cost.

“At the heart of all of our work on this project has been the need for this to become an integral community facility, fully inclusive and accessible to all and I am delighted to see work begin.”

Completion of the project is due for spring 2015 and will be delivered concurrently with the new Northwich Memorial Court leisure development, which is also being overseen by Wates.

Tony Shenton, business unit director, Wates Construction North West, said: “It is an exciting time as we commence construction work to deliver this flagship leisure facility for the people of Ellesmere Port.

“By delivering this development alongside Northwich Memorial Court we will be engaging Cheshire sub-contractors on the two schemes to facilitate cost efficiencies for both projects and ensure that these exceptional facilities will bring a boost to the local economy.”

The project was procured through the North West Construction Hub (NWCH) framework, on which Wates has been a construction partner since its appointment in 2010. 63 public sector organisations have procured 136 projects with a value of �864m through the framework in the last three years across the North West.

In July last year, Ellesmere Port Sport and Leisure Village became the 100th project to be procured through the NWCH framework.