Extra £1.3million approved for new Berwick leisure centre
Councillors have agreed a £1.3million increase to the budget for Berwick’s new leisure centre, taking the total project cost to £22.6million.
A report to the Tuesday, July 7, meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet explained that this was largely due to the final design work taking place at the same time as the tender process in a bid to get the project underway as quickly as possible.
It notes that this position is seen as a worst-case scenario and that contractor Tolent, which restarted on site in May after shutting down in March as the coronavirus outbreak took hold, will accept the risk of any further cost changes due to Covid-19.
Council leader Peter Jackson said: “There was some suggestion we should pare back and save money on this, but having seen the exciting designs, there’s no way we are going to penny-pinch on this project.”
The impact of the additional design work and Covid-19 will result in delays of around four months to the original timetable; the pool and main building was due to be completed in February next year, but the target is now June 2021.
The revised date for the completion of the sports hall is May 2022, pushed back from January 2022, and from August to November that year for the works to the grounds.
Berwick’s three county councillors, Georgina Hill, Gregah Roughead and Catherine Seymour, have welcomed the funding increase.
Speaking on behalf of the trio, Coun Gregah Roughead, who represents the Berwick West with Ord division, said: “For decades Berwick was neglected and forgotten about by previous decision-makers.
“As the county councillors for the Berwick area, we wholeheartedly welcome this extra funding for our new leisure centre.
“The allocation of an extra £1.3million instead of cutting costs or corners to the project proves that the current county council administration is committed to the future of our community by ensuring that we get nothing less than a state-of-the-art and first-rate facility.”
The new centre will feature a five-lane, 25m swimming pool, a teaching pool and leisure pool and spa facilities, a sports hall, fitness studios, indoor bowls hall, a cafe and outdoors there will be a 3G full-size playing pitch and play park.