Lichfield District Council is forging ahead with leisure centre development despite funding bid disappointment
Lichfield District Council’s bid for Government funding to help deliver a new leisure centre for the district has not been successful, but the Council is still committed to delivering the much-needed facility and has solid plans already in place to ensure it happens.
Last August the Council submitted a bid to the Levelling Up Fund to help meet the cost of providing a replacement for the ageing Friary Grange Leisure Centre. The Government (today) notified the Council that its bid has not been selected for approval.
To ensure a new facility is available for residents, the Council’s Cabinet will, on 14 February, be recommended to approve the Council stepping in to fund the scheme at Stychbrook Park, off Curborough Road, which will feature a six-lane 25metre swimming pool, a vending area, a dance studio, a changing area for outdoor activity, a 3G pitch, a 80-station fitness and toning suite, Spin Studio and cycling points.
If agreed by Cabinet, the final stage of approval will be the Full Council meeting on 28 February, where the £10 million of funding for the scheme will be requested.
If successful, the planning application, based on a pre-existing design, will be submitted in March with works commencing in October. The leisure centre would then be expected to open by December 2024 with people able to enjoy a swim before the end of next year.
Lichfield District Council’s Leader, Councillor Doug Pullen, said:
“Although we are disappointed that our LUF bid has been turned down, we were aware there was an only an outside chance of it being approved.
“Therefore, we have been working behind the scenes so that we were prepared for this eventuality as we are committed to delivering the facilities that our residents have shown they want.
“We have identified funding, are in a position to allocate it to the project and have a clear timeline in place to deliver this vital facility by the end of next year.”
The leisure centre is one of a range of projects planned for the benefit of the district including a Burntwood community hub and a cinema in Lichfield together with business start-up support, workforce development, inward investment and visitor economy marketing.
Through prudent budgeting and transformation of council services this is all possible whilst not increasing council tax bills for residents across the district.