Testing is under way on one of Cheshire East Council’s preferred sites for the multi-million-pound Crewe Lifestyle Centre.
After the Council decided to no longer include the Cumberland Centre as one of its preferred sites, the Council is re-focusing on its other preferred site on the Christchurch car parks in the town centre.
A large number of nearby residents opposed the Cumberland Centre location, at Thomas Street, as they felt it was not right for the development.
Council Leader Michael Jones said negotiations on final location are continuing but that the lifestyle centre was always going to be part of a ‘destination centre’ in the heart of Crewe.
Cheshire East’s contractor for the development is drilling boreholes at the site this week to examine its suitability.
Councillor Jones said: “We are a listening Council and the people of Crewe made it very clear to us that building the lifestyle centre in Thomas Street was not the right decision. It was also vital to understand the impact in relation to the Grand Junction Retail Park, for which we carried out a highways assessment.
“Although residents had a large voice on the Cumberland Centre decision, the Council has always investigated a destination site such as the Christchurch car parks.
“The work taking place this week will give us a very good idea of the suitability of the Christchurch car parks to build this centre, as an example.
“We will ensure that the people of Crewe have the chance to give their thoughts on our proposals in the very near future.”
Crewe Lifestyle Centre would feature a 25-metre, eight-lane swimming pool with a large learner pool for children as well as state-of-the-art facilities to ensure older and more vulnerable people have access to facilities to improve their health and wellbeing.
The new centre will also benefit the Council’s adult social care and children’s centre services. The ambitious plans aim to tackle Crewe’s real problems on health and wellbeing – the town has much lower life expectancy than the rest of Cheshire East.
Statistics show the people of Crewe suffer poorer health than the average Cheshire East resident and the town has the highest proportion of people (4,266) with diabetes – accounting for six per cent of the town’s population.
This has increased threefold from 20 years ago, when 1,400 people in Crewe had diabetes. If nothing is done, it is believed that one in five people (12,000) will have diabetes in Crewe in 20 years’ time.
Crewe Lifestyle Centre will help to address the main lifestyle risk factors which contribute to disease – including tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, high body-mass index (overweight and obesity), physical inactivity and alcohol use.
The centre will help to modify abnormal physiological measurements such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It will coordinate with schools over National Childhood Measurement Programme results to address reducing the number of overweight and obese primary school children in Crewe.