Harrogate council appoints construction firm for £26m leisure centre projects
A construction company has been chosen to develop plans for a new leisure centre in Knaresborough and upgrades at Harrogate Hydro.
Harrogate Borough Council has appointed Alliance Leisure Services as development manager for the two projects which will cost around £26m and be completed within the next five years.
A council report shows the company - which has offices in Greater Manchester and Somerset - was appointed without a competitive tender process.
It comes after the council announced on Wednesday that it had chosen its preferred location of the new leisure centre in Knaresborough as the town's existing swimming pool site on King James Road.
Senior councillors will now meet on Wednesday to approve a public consultation on the plans.
Councillor Stanley Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, said: "There are some exciting times ahead that shows our investment in the future of the sport and leisure facilities in the Harrogate district."
Residents had raised concerns over the plans for Conyngham Hall - a historic estate and business centre in Knaresborough - with a petition by the local Liberal Democrats attracting more than 1,600 signatures.
If approved, the new Knaresborough leisure centre will be completed by the end of 2023 and include a new 25-metre pool, a 66-station gym and two studio spaces.
The refurbishment of Harrogate Hydro will be completed by March 2025.
More than £10million is also being spent on improvements to Ripon Leisure Centre with completion expected in November 2021.
Earlier this year, the council approved plans to hand over management of its 11 leisure centres to a new council-controlled company to be called Brimham's Active.
The council estimated it could save £400,000 a year under the move and will spend £300,000 on start-up costs to launch the company by August 2021.
A council report said Alliance Leisure was appointed without a competition process to “avoid the traditional more time-consuming procurement process for public organisations”.
It added: "In addition, the council is able to examine new developments without being obliged to undertake them before making any commitment."
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter