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Council shifts Leisure Centre focus to Christchurch car park
TESTING is under way on one of Cheshire East Council’s preferred sites for the multi-million-pound Crewe Lifestyle Centre.
The Council abandoned plans to site the new facility at the Cumberland Centre, Thomas Street, following outcry from nearby residents.
Now the authority is re-focusing on its other preferred site: the Christchurch car parks in Crewe town centre.
Council leader, Michael Jones, said negotiations on final location are continuing, but that the lifestyle centre was always going to be part of a ‘destination centre’ in the heart of Crewe.
But Councillor Chris Thorley has described any final decision to site the leisure centre on the town centre’s primary car park as ‘barmy’.
Cheshire East’s contractor for the development is drilling boreholes at the Christchurch site this week to examine its suitability.
Clr Jones said: “We are a listening council and the people of Crewe made it very clear to us that building the lifestyle centre in Thomas Street was not the right decision.
“It was also vital to understand the impact in relation to the Grand Junction Retail Park, for which we carried out a highways assessment.
“Although residents had a large voice on the Cumberland Centre decision, the Council has always investigated a destination site such as the Christchurch car parks.
“The work taking place this week will give us a very good idea of the suitability of the Christchurch car parks to build this centre, as an example.
“We will ensure that the people of Crewe have the chance to give their thoughts on our proposals in the very near future.”
Councillor Chris Thorley was worried that placing the centre on Christchurch would deter shoppers.
He was also concerned about the future of Crewe’s historic art deco swimming baths in Flag Lane.
“All the people coming to Crewe – where are they going to park? It’s going to take shoppers away from Crewe town centre,” he said.
“The way forward is that they have a perfectly good site in Flag Lane.
“What’s wrong with what you’ve got that some investment would bring up to modern standards?
“It’s an historic building that’s stood the test of time.
“What’s quite obvious to me is that they will get rid of those beautiful art deco baths if the new centre gets built.”
Breakout: Crewe’s health woes Crewe’s new Lifestyle Centre will feature a 25-metre, eight-lane swimming pool with a large learner pool for children as well as state-of-the-art facilities to ensure older and more vulnerable people have access to facilities to improve their health and wellbeing.
The new centre aims to tackle Crewe’s problems on health and wellbeing – the town has much lower life expectancy than the rest of Cheshire East.
Statistics show the people of Crewe suffer poorer health than the average Cheshire East resident and the town has the highest proportion of people (4,266) with diabetes – accounting for six per cent of the town’s population.
This has increased threefold from 20 years ago, when 1,400 people in Crewe had diabetes. If nothing is done, it is believed that one in five people (12,000) will have diabetes in Crewe in 20 years’ time.
A council spokesman said: “Crewe Lifestyle Centre will help to address the main lifestyle risk factors which contribute to disease – including tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high body-mass index, physical inactivity and alcohol use.
“The centre will help to modify abnormal physiological measurements such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“It will coordinate with schools over National Childhood Measurement Programme results to address reducing the number of overweight and obese primary school children in Crewe.”
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