The phase, which had a contract value of £1,500,000 and began in March 2011, included the internal refurbishment of the centre. This comprised the conversion of the old first floor nightclub into an 80-station fitness suite that features free weights, Technogym resistance and cardiovascular equipment as well as an interactive area suitable for both youth and adults alike.
There are also two new aerobic studios and a Shapemaster Feel Good toning salon, which features both Powertone tables and Easytone chairs. Changing rooms have also been built to accommodate the customers of the new facilities. The facilities are designed to appeal to all ages, including people with disabilities, mobility and stability issues, as well as those recovering from an injury or simply wanting to lose weight.
Alliance Leisure, the appointed Flintshire County Council framework partner, have financed and delivered the project and engaged with Salford-based ISG Regions for the construction and Pozzoni for architectural services.
The phase was part of a £5m investment in the centre by Flintshire County Council, who have formed a five-year Leisure Strategy that provides a vision with strategic framework to guide and drive the development and improvement of Leisure provision within Flintshire. The strategy recognises the need for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to be part of an active community, whilst noting the key role that leisure plays in making positive contributions to education, economic development, physical and mental health, active lifestyles and reducing antisocial behaviour. Flintshire’s key partners in delivering the strategy include, amongst many: Communities First, National Governing Bodies of Sport, Sports Council for Wales and the Welsh Assembly.
The Welsh Assembly Government has also published a Cultural Strategy for Wales, which states: ‘Sport is both an inseparable part of any country’s cultural identity and a vital element in promoting health, individual fulfilment and social interaction.’
Councillor Dennis Hutchinson, Flintshire’s executive member for leisure, said: “Our aim is to encourage more people to take part in regular sport and physical activity to ensure wide-ranging health and social benefits throughout Flintshire.
“People are in for a real treat this month; our new facilities are welcoming, inspiring and a pleasure to visit.
“Despite the current financial climate affecting local authorities, the council has worked hard to inspire its local community with future proof leisure provision. In these difficult financial times, when all the talk is of public sector budget cuts, partnering with a private sector company has allowed us to make facility and service improvements for the benefit of our community.”
Phase 1 of the project comprised the creation of six floodlit 5-a-side pitches, catering for both adult and junior football.
Phase 3, which is scheduled for completion around Christmas time, will comprise the conversion of the venue’s ‘Arena’ – into a new extreme sports facility. It will feature a 1,452m² (15,629 ft²) indoor wooden ramp area for skateboarders, skaters and BMXers; a high ropes course; a climbing tower; and a bouldering facility. It will be the largest indoor wheel sport facility in the country. In addition, Wales’ first public sector day spa will be created, along with a soft play area for children. This phase is expected to cost £2.8mm.
The designs for the new facilities are sympathetic to the local environment and ensure that water, energy and materials are used efficiently and effectively. For example, as the project was short on substation electricity, additional power-saving methods were put in place; this included the use of T5s instead of light bulbs and gas air conditioning instead of electrical as well as installed solar panels to the roof.
Mike Welch, Arena manager for the Deeside Leisure Centre project noted that the project was going well. He recognised the significance of this exciting project, saying: “We’re going to have the first public spa in Wales, and one of the largest skate parks in the UK.”