What is happening at Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub?

The current Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub is being transformed into a neighbourhood hub, which encompasses leisure, library, health, and cultural facilities under one roof. The development will also include a new access road at the junction of Lingley Green Avenue, new car parking facilities with 400 spaces, and improved outdoor space. The new hub will be bigger than the current building, with a footprint of 4626sqm and an overall internal floor space of 6553sqm upon completion.

When will the development be completed?

The new tennis courts were completed in July 2016 and are now open for use. The refurbished 3G pitch was completed in October 2016 and is also now ready for use. The new hub building will open in phases. The first facilities to open will be new concourse and entrance, library, café, fitness suite and group fitness studios. This will be followed in the next phase by two upgraded swimming pools, health spaces, retail units, a refurbished sports hall, and a spa. The complete facility will be open to the public late 2018.

Who is building the hub?

Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub is being developed by BAM Construction. BAM Construction is part of BAM Construct UK which is one of the country’s largest construction services organisations with a turnover of more than £900 million. They operate throughout England, Scotland and Wales and their European parent company is Royal BAM Group which employs more than 25,000 people worldwide and has a turnover of €7 billion.

The Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub project is being delivered by BAM’s North West office in Manchester, with the project team based on site full time throughout the works. Recently completed projects in the North West include the Manchester City Football Academy, National Graphene Institute, and UTC@MediaCityUK.

BAM was chosen by LiveWire as the organisation best suited to ensure the build meets the needs of the ageing popular in the area, partially because the firm’s national charity partner is the Alzheimer’s Society and the partnership provides opportunities to fully embrace with, and create, a true dementia friendly environment for local people.

Who is managing the project?

As with all major capital investment projects in the town, the development is part of Warrington & Co's portfolio. They are using their expertise to advise on infrastructure and investment. LiveWire have been heavily involved in the design of the development and will be its operator once it’s open.

How is the project being funded?

The project is being funded by a number of local partners including LiveWire, Warrington Borough Council with support from national funding bodies like Sport England, NHS England, the Lawn Tennis Association, and Football Foundation.

Why has this scheme taken so long to complete?

As with any major construction project, delays in the work schedule are always a possibility. The existing leisure centre was built in the 1970s and was in poor condition. Since construction work began, it has become apparent that additional work is needed to refurbish the existing building in a way which brings it up to the high specification of the new build element of the scheme.

What new facilities will the hub offer?

The hub will include a library, café, sauna and steam, spa, 120 station fitness suite, health services, conference facilities, dedicated cycle studio, a changing village, improved pools, external fitness and recreation spaces, tennis courts, and an improved 3G football pitch.

Will there be a GP surgery?

There are no plans for a GP practice to be permanently based in Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub. However, Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group is consulting with local residents to enable their views to shape the health services on offer from the building.

Will there be new/improved changing facilities?

Yes, there will be a new wet changing village for the swimming pools, new dry changing rooms for the fitness suite and studios, improved pitch changing facilities, and newly installed changing facilities for the spa - all with new lockers and cubicles.

Will there be improved spectator viewing facilities?

Yes, the plan is for a new viewing gallery on the opposite side of the pool from the current location, running along the north side, accessible from the first floor and significantly expanded. This area will be open, easy to access and with vending facilities located nearby. There is also improved spectator facilities around the external 3G pitch.

What will the new library look like?

It will be an open access space without physical boundaries located close to the entrance on the ground floor. In addition to providing library books the layout will provide a flexible space for use by all hub users. This will include computer facilities, wi-fi access, a separate quiet space for study, relaxation, or for use for specific activities such as reading groups or for crafts.

What are the benefits to the local community?

The project is a major part of the work to improve health and wellbeing for all Warrington residents. It also forms part of the ongoing development of west Warrington, providing state-of-the-art facilities for the local population - which is growing as a result of major new housing and business developments in the area.

The new hub will provide dementia friendly facilities for west Warrington’s aging population – which is the largest in the borough.

What makes the facility ‘dementia friendly’?

Consultation has taken place with Warrington Dementia Action Alliance to ensure the design and build of services will be dementia friendly. Steps currently being undertaken include training staff to raise awareness of the disease and the impact it has on the person and their surrounding network. Once completed, the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub will be accredited by academic leaders in dementia friendly design.

Themes have been carefully considered to ensure Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub provides a truly dementia friendly environment. The entrance will be well-lit; making as much use of natural light as possible.

In addition, the hub will contain signage which will be positioned at eye level, clear, in a bold font and with good contrast between text and background to support additional aspects of aging such as reduced colour contract.

Many aspects of the facilities will be taken into account, including the comfort of older users and the risk of trips or falls. Plain or mottled floor surfaces will be non-slip and flush rather than steeped to avoid creating trip hazards. The building will have a spacious feel, complemented by sufficient seating, and there will also be quiet areas that can be used by someone who may feel confused or anxious.

Additionally, LiveWire has taken into account research into dementia in order to further understand the needs of the hub’s users. It is recognised that those with dementia may benefit from strategically placed ‘landmarks’, items which can be easily remembered and recognised, for example attractive paintings. LiveWire will be working with Culture Warrington to provide memorable pieces of art throughout the building which will assist with navigation around the hub.

Will the leisure centre be closed during the build?

We have worked hard with our contractor, BAM Construction, to keep the centre operational for as long as possible during such a large construction process, in order to minimise disruption for our customers.

As with all large projects of this kind, there will be some disruption for existing leisure centre users during the building works. The centre will closed from mid-July to enable major refurbishment work to take place, so the majority of the new facilities can open to the public this winter. All indoor facilities will be closed during this period, with only the tennis courts and 3G pitch in operation until the new hub opens its doors.

What will happen to my LiveWire membership during the closure?

Your LiveWire membership gives you access to five leisure sites and eleven libraries across the town. We are encouraging existing Great Sankey members to continue with fitness goals during the closure by using their nearest alternative site, where possible.

How will it affect Great Sankey High School?

We are working very closely with the neighbouring school and we hold regular meetings with their management team. Our priority is to minimise disruption as much as possible while pushing ahead with delivering the scheme, which will benefit thousands of young people.

Construction on the hub is being carefully co-ordinated to minimise disruption to the day to day operation of the school, especially around exam times.

What is the impact on Busy 0-5s, the local nursery?

LiveWire is working closely with the nursey to ensure they can benefit from the development, which is situated on the same site and are holding regular meetings with the owners of the nursey.

What are the effects on the parish council land?

During the construction phase the parish pitch maintenance entrance will be used temporarily as the construction vehicle entrance and this will be in place until the new access road off Lingley Green Avenue is complete. During this period access to and use of the parish pitches will not be affected, although users will need to be aware of construction traffic in the area.

Upon completion of the project the parish pitch entrance will be reinstated and pitch users will have direct access to the pitches from the new hub car park.

What are the environmental benefits of the project?

The newly constructed building will bring environmental benefits by improving energy efficiency and reducing operational and maintenance costs. Solar panels will be installed on the roof of the new building, while the whole building including the outdoor tennis courts and 3G pitch will be lit by LED lighting.