Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Growth, presented the report which provided an update on the interim service arrangements required to enable the implementation of the schemes to regenerate Radcliffe, including the construction of a new school, the opening of a new Leisure Centre and Library as part of the new Radcliffe Hub and the redevelopment of the current Radcliffe Library into an Enterprise Centre.
Members discussed the importance of leisure facilities on physical health and mental wellbeing, and thanks were given to officers who had worked very hard to find alternative leisure provision in Radcliffe, which had unfortunately been unsuccessful. Decommissioning of services and equipment had begun, and users had been kept informed and signposted to alternative arrangements. In response to Members’ questions, it was noted that options for relocating the PRU were still being explored and it wasn’t clear whether temporary facilities would be needed or if a permanent move could be made.
1. Agreed that the Leisure Centre in Radcliffe will close on 10th December 2023 to enable the handover of the site for the construction of the new school on the Spring Lane site;
2. Noted the temporary arrangements which will be put in place prior to the opening of the new leisure facility in Radcliffe in late 2025;
3. Noted that the PRU will vacate the Spring Lane site in February half term 2024 and options to proceed with alternative arrangements are underway and will be approved subject to further work on costs and programme planning. A further report will be brought forward once this work is completed; and
4. Noted recent progress with the development of the Enterprise Centre and a proposal to bring forward a further report setting out details of decant and library services.
Reasons for the decision:
· Any delay is vacating the Spring Lane site will attract a financial penalty for the Council of £2.4m.
· Various options have been explored to re-provide a full-time sports hall and gym in Radcliffe and the service has worked closely with local Members and the community and voluntary sector to identify suitable locations. This has not been possible as the community venues are required for other activities throughout the week such as church services and it would not be possible to move the gym equipment to accommodate. It is not possible or affordable to re-provide a temporary swimming pool in Radcliffe.
· The new Community Wellness Activity Plan is an appropriate next step following the development of the 2023 Wellness Strategy and is an excellent demonstration of the ambitions of the Let’s do it Strategy, working together to deliver for the local community.
· The PRU will need to vacate the site during February half term 2024 to hand over the site for the construction of the school. The option to relocate to Spurr House has proved too expensive and not achievable within the timescales so further options are under discussion.
· The financials have been agreed to turn the current Radcliffe Library into an Enterprise Centre by April 2025 and the work is underway to tender for a construction partner and operator. When the construction programme is agreed a further report will be brought forward after December 2023 Regeneration Board to set out the operational impact on the current Library.
Other options considered and rejected:
· An options appraisal was carried out looking at assorted options to re-provide the sports hall and gym in community venues and by renting or buying a portable building, but this proved to be unaffordable in the current climate, there was a lack of available alternative sites and a shortage of portable buildings nationally due to RAAC issues elsewhere in the UK.
· An alternative long-term option for the PRU relocation was considered at Spurr House although costs have risen significantly against the Cabinet approved budget. This option has been discounted as a short-term solution as the construction programme does not align with offering vacant possession of Spring Lane to the DfE.
· An options appraisal was carried out looking at potential alternative locations for the library once the construction work on the Enterprise Centre commences. It has not been possible to identify a vacant building in Radcliffe that is large enough or at an affordable price to relocate the whole library to.
· Options around providing a portable building on the car park were investigated but there is a lack of availability of these buildings nationwide due to the current RAAC crisis in schools across the Country and the costs were unaffordable. The architect and developer will work up a series of options for the December 2023 Regeneration Board for the continuation of Library Services in conjunction with the Library Service during this period.
Publication date: 09/11/2023
Date of decision: 07/11/2023
Decided at meeting: 07/11/2023 - Cabinet