An image of the £15m leisure centre in Ellesmere Port a has been unveiled after plans were given the green light.
It is anticipated building will start on the old Stanney High School site this autumn – if planning permission is granted in September.
Members of the CWaC Executive gave unanimous backing to the project, along with a similar scheme in Northwich, after considering the report of a Corporate Scrutiny Review of the procurement and consultation processes involved to hire contractor Wates.
Reassurance was sought that value for money was being achieved through the North West Construction Hub procurement framework but it was accepted that no further funding beyond the capital budget would be available.
Leader of the Labour group at Cheshire West and Chester Council Justin Madders questioned whether the authority was getting value for money following reports that Crewe is scheduled to get a 50-metre pool and lifestyle centre for £10m.
Following the decision of a number of Conservative councillors to join forces with the Labour Group to challenge the executive’s decision, Cllr Madders added: “The Tories can now add their own councillors to the growing list of people they ignore.
“This is a bitterly disappointing outcome given the arguments that have been made. I don't believe the political will has ever been there to aim for the very best.
“I would guess that none of us will know until the end how much these two schemes will actually cost, or how much it could have cost is we had gone somewhere else.
“People still have unanswered questions. I don’t think these questions will ever be answered satisfactorily, which is a shame.”
Members received a report on the competitive process used to appoint companies to the Hub and an ongoing scrutiny of costs generated during the design and construction phases.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member, culture and recreation, said: “Value for money isn’t simply about cost – it’s about being fit for purpose, ensuring that the companies we use are financially viable, and that they have the right scale of warranties in place to protect the council.
“Furthermore we also require that they use quality systems, and that they have the right level of experience, and importantly that they are using local labour and suppliers where appropriate.”
Cllr Parker added that while £10m had been allocated for the Crewe proposal, no information was available on how the estimate had been calculated.
Local swimming clubs and their supporters had called for a 50-metre pool at Ellesmere Port to replace the proposed 25-metre pool.
But council leader Mike Jones claimed it would have cost significantly more to build and run.
Ledsham and manor councillor Gareth Anderson, said: “This will be the first major investment in leisure facilities in Ellesmere Port in my lifetime.”
Residents who want to know more about the plans will be able to have their questions answered next Wednesday (June 19).
Cheshire West and Chester Council is hosting a pre-planning ‘drop-in’ session at the Civic Suite, Civic Hall, when the design team will be available to answer questions on the first phase.
The ‘drop-in’ will run from 4-8pm and the team will answer queries on all aspects of the project ranging from the community and sports facilities provided to the building’s design, landscaping and associated highways works.
Information will also be available on the demolition of Stanney High.
Residents will also have the opportunity to question members of the team on the Stanney Lane Boulevard improvement works.
The latter designed to improve better accessibility between the town centre and the Sport and Leisure Village and further to Cheshire Oaks – particularly for cyclists and pedestrians.
Prioritised for improvement as a key gateway into the town, Stanney Lane Boulevard will also create a clear visual connection between existing and future development opportunities.