A PROPOSED multi-million pound refurbishment of Knutsford Leisure Centre has been put on the back burner.

Knutsford councillor Tony Dean (Con) has called for an urgent meeting with the boss of the ESAR Trust (Everybody Sport and Recreation), which runs the council’s leisure services, to try to bring the scheme into this year’s programme of works.

He says he was under the impression a £4.5m refurbishment was to take place within the next couple of years and has been given no explanation why it has been delayed.

“Sometime before the last election in 2019 I was involved in several meetings with senior ESAR Trust staff about an upcoming refurbishment of Knutsford’s Leisure Centre, including the pool area and the outside facilities,” Cllr Dean told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.


Knutsford Guardian:

Cllr Tony Dean


“The meetings were to seek consensus on exactly what improvements were going to be made.

“I was happy with the programme of works when it was finalised, comprising £4.5m of work, and understood that agreement on the programme had been reached with Knutsford Academy, who are a major user of the facilities. I was told that the work was programmed to take place in the 2021/22 or 2022/23 financial years.”

He said when it was not included in the recently presented Cheshire East capital expenditure programme for all years up to 2024/25 he asked at last month’s corporate policy committee meeting what had happened to the Knutsford scheme.

“I received a written answer from a finance officer some days later which merely indicated that whilst Congleton and several other leisure centre refurbishment schemes were indeed going ahead as presented in the programme, Knutsford’s scheme had been ‘delayed’,” said Cllr Dean.

“No proper explanation as to why Knutsford had been picked out to be omitted from the current programme was given.

“I have therefore asked for a meeting with the chief executive of ESAR Trust to find out why this is the case, and if anything can be done to bring the Knutsford work back into this year’s programme.”

Cllr Mick Warren, chair of the council’s environment and communities committee, told the LDRS: “The council continues to work with the borough’s leisure trust, Everybody Sport and Recreation, to progress proposals for the continuing redevelopment of our leisure centres, including Knutsford Leisure Centre.

“The council, and the trust, have invested in a number of leisure centres in recent years, with work currently ongoing in Nantwich and Congleton.

"The release of further capital funding for leisure centre redevelopment will be subject to the approval of a detailed business case on a site-by-site basis.”