As leisure centres across the country re-open for business, Newton-Le-Willows Health & Fitness, Merseyside, has revealed a modernised Selwyn Leisure Centre, completely repurposed by Alliance Leisure to realign the facilities and services to the needs of the local community.

The phased project, which saw leisure, design and build specialist Createability acting as principal contractor, completely overhauled the centre to introduce a mezzanine floor in half of the existing sports hall to create a 90-station gym. The addition of a multi-functional exercise studio and a dedicated Les Mills Immersive group cycle studio completed the health and fitness transformation. The remainder of the sports hall facilitated a new adventure play area for under 11s along with three party rooms. 

A Sport England grant of £335,000 funded improved access to the swimming pool and gym for people with disabilities as well as a new Village Change area. All other areas of the centre were renovated including the café, reception area and the changing areas serving the outdoor pitch. The site has undergone a complete mechanical, electrical and plant replacement to significantly extend the lifecycle of the building, along with the introduction of new carbon efficient technologies.

With the addition of children’s activities and innovative fitness solutions, the facility now serves a broader demographic and it is hoped these enhancements will improve local health outcomes. Prior to the development, health in the borough was worse than the national average, reflected by the higher than average cost of physical inactivity.

“The facility was dated and the type of activities available were clearly not attractive to the local community, which created a barrier to participation in exercise. Memberships pre-development was 1,000, with a latent demand of 1,948. Since the investment, memberships have increased to 2,300, which is a fantastic result for St Helen’s Council and local people,” says James Foley, Commercial Director at Alliance Leisure.

Starting in March 2019, the project was completed in five phases to keep the centre open to the public throughout the redevelopment. Final works completed in early August 2020, with works continuing during the challenges presented by lockdown.

David Boocock, Service Manager at St.Helens Council, said: “The council took the brave decision in 2019, in what was a challenging financial climate, to invest in the site. The impact of this investment has far exceeded our expectations and more importantly those of the communities which we serve. Working with the Alliance team we have repurposed space and broadened the appeal of the activities the building is able to accommodate. Their advice has been sound and, if anything, their forecasts for usage have been conservative. Within six months the site is hitting its three-year targets.

“The building has gone from a tired 90s sports centre to a facility which provides affordable leisure and fitness activities in a high quality environment for people of all ages and abilities.”

Ian Cotgrave, Managing Director of Createability, said: “This project was a real team effort by all concerned, and delivered in challenging Covid times. The results are spectacular, and the trans-formation needs to be seen to be believed.”

The project was secured under the UK Leisure Framework, which is owned by Denbighshire Council and managed by Denbighshire Leisure. Following its success, Alliance is starting work on a second project for St. Helens Council. The scheme will look to bring the swimming pool at Sutton Leisure Centre back into use, six years after it was closed to the public.

See the finished development

Discover the full impact of the project and take a virtual walkthrough the brand new Newton-Le-Willows Health & Fitness.