Pool plan to cost an extra £250k
Wednesday 28th November 2018 @ 09:19 by Lauren Entwistle
Hyde Tameside

Council chiefs are to ‘consider their options’ over what to do about a funding shortfall for a planned pool expansion, after it was revealed it will cost another £250,000 to go ahead.

By Charlotte Green, local democracy reporter.

The proposals to expand Hyde Pool have seen costs spiral beyond the £2 million investment bosses had originally budgeted for by more than 50 percent – despite no ground being broken.

In the latest update presented to the strategic planning and capital monitoring panel on Monday, bosses estimate it will need an additional quarter of a million capital – taking the investment to £3.4m.

The project, which has been in the pipeline for more than two years, would see a new six lane swimming pool, changing rooms and spectator seating area at the Active Hyde facility, off Walker Lane.

However it has been beset with delays, and was ‘paused’ in the fallout from the Carillion collapse while bosses examined their spending priorities.

The first delay to the project stemmed from ‘technical issues’, after surveys discovered that the existing electrical and mechanical system could not be adapted to run the new pool.

Consequently in August 2017 the authority committed a further £1m to make sure it could progress.

The budget was topped up again after chiefs agreed to pay an extra £88,000 to the contractor, after they said they were ‘nervous’ about dealing with the Local Education Partnership (LEP) after the Carillion collapse.

Carillion then owned 80pc of the LEP, and were in charge of tendering the contract.

Despite the financial assurance, the builder pulled out of the pool revamp the day before they were due to sign on the dotted line.

It is that delay that is behind the cost increase of £250,000, officers say.

A proposal has been submitted by a potential new contractor which is being currently evaluated by the LEP.

Once the value of the funding shortfall has been fully costed by the LEP a further report about the future of the pool plans will be considered by the executive cabinet

Sandra Stewart, Tameside’s director of governance and pensions, said the recommendation to explore the options over the progression of the Hyde pool plans came as a consequence of the contractor withdrawing.

“What that means is we have had to redo the procurement process again and then come back with a revised scheme for this panel to accept or not,” she said.

The risk level for the Hyde project has been rated red, and is ‘resulting in further delays and increased cost’, according to officers.

Their mitigation plan is to work with the preferred contractor to reduce costs ‘where possible’.

However the risk register states: “The LEP’s priority is the delivery of the Vision Tameside project.

“This commitment may impact on their ability to accelerate the scheme as required by the council.”

It is estimated the town hall will lose £6,000 of revenue each month beyond the planned completion date of the Hyde pool extension.

At Monday’s meeting, the panel also agreed to accept £1.5m of grant funding from Sports England, which will be added to the Tameside Wellness Centre project.

The centre, in Denton, will cost around £14m and is part of the town hall’s masterplan to deliver a ‘stepchange’ in health for the borough.

Bosses have already completed investment in their leisure assets, including at Medlock Vale, Dukinfield, Copley, and Longdendale.