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New Wyre Forest leisure centre plans under spotlight
LEISURE centre plans for Wyre Forest have been put under the spotlight as council leaders begin a new tendering process for the proposed sports facility.
Groups are being asked to come forward to design, build, maintain and manage the centre, planned for the former British Sugar site Silverwoods, in Stourport Road.
It follows a U-turn from an earlier plan to use the former Spennells Valley Road sports ground.
Wyre Forest District Council leaders said negotiations with Victoria Carpets over purchasing the site had broken down “because the site was designated a zone two flood risk”.
The authority’s planning committee, however, had been told in May a council-commissioned strategic flood risk assessment had re-designated the application site as a zone one risk.
The committee also heard at the same meeting using the former British Sugar site would result in “knock-on land and build costs”.
Conservative councillor Ian Hardiman, cabinet member for community wellbeing, said land now being looked at had not previously been available.
Mr Hardiman revealed at last Wednesday’s full council meeting the new facility would sit at the edge of the Silverwoods development next to the railway track.
Council leaders insist the new centre will save the cash-strapped authority money over keeping and maintaining the Stourport site, Kidderminster’s Glades and Bewdley Leisure Centre which are all due to close by March, 2016.
In a statement following the meeting, Mr Hardiman also defended the decision to close Stourport Sports Centre as part of the project, saying: “From the outset we said it would shut if we couldn’t find another organisation to take it on.
“Unfortunately, any potential organisations which may have been able to enter into a community asset transfer have not been able to put forward a viable business plan which will not cost the council any money or have said the building it too much of a liability.”
Council leaders insist the new centre will save the cash-strapped authority money over keeping and maintaining the Stourport site, Kidderminster’s Glades - which are due to close by March, 2016 and Bewdley Leisure Centre.
It is hoped management of the Bewdley facility will be transfered to Bewdley High School and Sixth Form Centre and Worcestershire County Council.
If this is not possible it will be included in the contract for the management of the new centre.
Groups have until mid-December to express in interest in running the new facility.
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