Warrington Councillors Could Be Forking Out An Extra £2.2 million For New Community Hub

Town Hall chiefs are eyeing a 2020 opening date for Bewsey and Dallam Community Hub – but the council will be forking out £2.2 million more than expected.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held on the land, off Longshaw Street, in March 2016.

The hub – proposed to include a fitness suite, library, pool and lifestyle services – was originally given a planned opening date of summer 2017.

However, in January, following repeated delays, Cllr Colin Froggatt (LAB – Poulton South) asked whether it will ever be built.

But plans are back on the agenda, with the scheme to come before the executive board on Monday.

The total project budget has been set at £4.3 million.

But the amount of funding currently secured and available for the project stands at £2.1 million, which leaves a budget shortfall of up to £2.2 million.

Therefore, in order to proceed with the hub development, the council will be required to invest a further £2.2 million, on top of the £1 million it has previously committed.

In his report to members, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden says it has been the authority’s ‘long-standing ambition’ to deliver the hub.

He added: “It aims to improve health and wellbeing outcomes in two of the town’s most deprived communities and is recommended as a social investment opportunity to complement and finalise the delivering wellbeing in Bewsey and Dallam investment programme.”

However, Cllr Bowden (LAB – Birchwood) also admits the shortfall in funding ‘risks reputational damage’ as the site has been subject to ‘a number of proposed schemes and promises to the community’.

The executive board is recommended to support the development of the hub, note the financial implications for the council of borrowing £3.2 million over 25 years, award and enter into a £3,235,152 contract with a firm and approve the expenditure of the overall budget at a cost of up to £4.3 million plus VAT.

Members have been told that approval on Monday will enable the project to ‘progress at pace’, with an anticipated opening set for early 2020.

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