PLANS to build a new swimming pool and leisure centre in the city have been thrown out after councils bosses admitted they could no longer afford it.
Instead new proposals are being drawn up to extend the existing Perdiswell Leisure Centre to house a six-lane pool which could cost as little as £6.5million – half the amount of the highest original estimated cost of £13million.
The current leisure centre would also be given a significant refurbishment and modernisation and a new gym space created.
Worcester City Council’s cabinet will be asked on April 15 to give their backing to development of the new plans and to scrap the previous idea.
Coun Adrian Gregson, Worcester City Council leader, said extending Perdiswell was the most sensible option in the current economic climate.
“This exciting new proposal has many advantages,” he said.
“It would be far more affordable, it should mean we are able to build a new pool and have it open before the target date of 2016 and it would mean we could keep the majority of the facilities at Perdiswell Leisure Centre open while the construction work takes place.”
Since plans for a new pool were first mooted in 2011 to replace the crumbling Sansome Walk pool, the city council has faced a 50 per cent cut in Government grants, increasing construction costs and a decrease in its income from existing leisure and sports centres including St Johns and Perdiswell.
“Increases in the costs of construction and borrowing, and the continuing cuts to Government funding of councils, mean the new build options are no longer affordable,” Coun Gregson added.
“This is a practical and sensible solution to providing the new swimming pool Worcester needs.”
Perdiswell Leisure Centre will continue to operate as normal while the extension is built.
Once the pool is open, the sports hall and other parts of the leisure centre will be refurbished to create a more modern and flexible space and the opportunity to play different sports.
If the Cabinet backs the new proposal, detailed plans for the new extension and refurbishment will be prepared before a firm decision is made in the summer.