Plans for new leisure center and swimming pool in Clayton-le-Moors ‘postponed’
Plans to build a new £12.6 million leisure center at Wilsons Playfields in Clayton-le-Moors must be postponed by a year, the full Hyndburn Council will be informed.
Great Harwood Labor councillors, Colin McKenzie and Scott Brereton, have brought a motion to the meeting on Thursday next week calling for a review of the controversial scheme. It is concerned about the impact of inflation on the cost of the project, which includes demolishing the existing clubhouse and replacing it with a new center that will accommodate a 25-metre four-lane pool, indoor and outdoor changing facilities, a fitness suite, offices, community rooms and a café. And the reception area.
Two Overton ward councilors led opposition to the scheme and called for any new swimming pool to be replaced by the closed pool at Great Harwood’s Mercer Hall in the town. The move comes after Minister Michael Gove gave final government approval for the leisure center proposal earlier this month.
In September, Hyndbourne’s planning committee voted six to five, with two abstentions, to grant permission for the project. But due to the scale of the scheme and its location in protected Green Belt countryside, approval was referred to Communities Minister Mr Gove for the final go-ahead.
The motion to ‘review plans for a swimming pool in Wilson’ was proposed by Cllr McKenzie and seconded by Cllr Brerton. It said: “With the cost of living crisis, rising interest rates, changes to planning (including increased parking and road modifications) and spending on consultants now exceeding half a million pounds, the projected cost of the Wilson complex has risen rapidly.
“There has been a lack of clarity on the financial risks, with contradictory statements being made in the council and in public. Furthermore, we have seen a recent change in leadership in the council, with the Conservatives now in coalition with two Green councillors, yet construction at Wilson involves Unnecessary construction on green belt land and an increase in traffic on the already busy and polluted Wylie Road.
“We believe the proposed swimming pool represents a significant risk to the council’s finances, and is likely to leave the council deeply in debt, with interest rates rising. There has been no evidence that the complex will be financially viable.
“Its construction and operation will create chaos on roads and increase ill health for Clayton residents. Building on the green belt is unacceptable. The process needs a comprehensive review.
“We intend for the council to ask Cabinet to review and possibly defer the Wilson project for one year, so that it can be fully reviewed in light of changing financial circumstances.” Hyndburn Council leader Marilyn Haworth declined to comment on the proposal.