A brand new, top-class leisure centre and swimming pool for Halifax could move a step closer to construction, as Cabinet Members discuss the next stages of the ambitious project to bring major benefits to the whole community.
At Calderdale Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 17 January, Members will consider whether to recommend to Full Council that funding be allocated and prudential borrowing be used to progress the development of distinctive, new, state-of-the-art facilities for use across Calderdale’s diverse communities, to support health and wellbeing, economic recovery and climate action. This would enable construction of new, combined swimming and leisure facilities on the existing North Bridge Leisure Centre site in Halifax.
The project needs to be delivered to a tight timescale to reduce the impact of unprecedented increases in construction costs, following significant material, labour and energy price inflation, and to benefit from the money granted to Calderdale by Central Government from the Levelling Up Fund before its spend deadline.
Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, said:
“We’re really excited to be discussing plans to progress Halifax Leisure Centre, during one of the most ambitious and inspiring times for the town. This project is part of the unprecedented investment of more than £200 million into Halifax over the next decade, which we’re showcasing through our ‘Think you know Halifax?’ campaign.
“As well as providing modern, first-rate facilities to help people to be active and connected, the new centre is another stepping stone in the regeneration and sustainable future of Halifax and the rest of Calderdale, the fight against climate change and the reduction of inequalities in local people’s lives.”
Cllr Jenny Lynn, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, added:
“The real beauty of the proposed new leisure centre and swimming pool is that it has something to appeal to every single person in Calderdale and beyond, regardless of their background, age or how fit they are. You could get active in the 25m pool, spinning studio or adventure climb, or take time out of your busy life in the sauna, steam room or café. All of this – and more – would have a great impact on health and wellbeing.”
The benefits of the proposed Halifax Leisure Centre include:
The Council has consulted with community and disability groups, as well as an accessibility specialist, during the design process to ensure people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can enjoy and benefit from the facilities.
The inclusion of a Centre for Independent Living would provide good-quality information and support to people living with a range of long-term health conditions, and the plans support the ambition to become an Age Friendly Calderdale.
The project would help to deliver the Council’s Wellbeing Strategy and Active Calderdale movement. It would create high-quality, accessible and sustainable sport and leisure facilities, which offer inclusive services for all and enable inactive people to become active and more residents to reach their potential by participating in sport and physical activity. This would improve long-term health and wellbeing and help people to live a larger life through the Vision2024 for Calderdale.
The location of the new leisure centre between Halifax town centre and Dean Clough would help attract more local people, visitors and workers from the large-scale development into the town centre. Increased footfall from this and other major projects would help to boost the area at a crucial stage of the inclusive economic recovery from the pandemic.
Swimming is an important life skill and vital for safety in Calderdale, where there are many rivers, canals and open water sites. The proposed new pool would provide high-quality facilities for the Council to offer swimming lessons to all primary school children. The centre would also provide leisure facilities for around 700 young people studying at the nearby Trinity Sixth Form Academy, which opened at Northgate in 2020.
The Council has built a significant number of carbon-reducing features into the design of the building to help reduce the impact on the environment and help tackle the climate emergency. Proposed features include a microfiltration pool system to reduce water and chemical usage; natural ventilation and energy-efficient, air source heat pumps; wildflower planting and green roof areas to create a wildlife habitat and retain rainwater for gradual release into the drainage system; and bike racks to encourage more cycling to and from the centre.
The proposals will be discussed at Calderdale Council’s online Cabinet meeting on Monday 17 January 2022, which starts at 6pm and can be watched at https://calderdale.public-i.tv/core/portal/home. The leisure centre proposals will be discussed in private due to commercial and financial sensitivity.