Further £2 million funding allocated to help finance major upgrade of Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre in Ripon

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More funding is set to be allocated to a major upgrade of a leisure centre in Ripon to ensure that communities are provided with a key facility that is seen as vital to boosting health and well-being.

Members of North Yorkshire Council will be asked next Tuesday (May 28) to approve a further £2 million in funding for a scheme that is underway at the Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre.

The council’s executive committee will hear that extra funding is needed to deal with ongoing ground stabilisation work to the existing leisure centre building.

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The project was initially started by the former Harrogate Borough Council, but it is now being overseen by North Yorkshire Council following its launch in April last year.

A further £2 million funding has been allocated to help finance a major upgrade of Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness CentreA further £2 million funding has been allocated to help finance a major upgrade of Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre
A further £2 million funding has been allocated to help finance a major upgrade of Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre

An initial budget of £6.5 million was allocated to cover the ground stabilisation work, but the amount of grout needed is currently higher than was originally forecast.

North Yorkshire Council’s Executive Member for Leisure, Councillor Simon Myers, said: “Whilst Harrogate Borough Council estimated the cost of the ground stabilisation before work started, the nature of the geology issues in Ripon meant that it was difficult to forecast it with a high degree of certainty.

“More grout has been needed to stabilise this building and we estimate that we now need an additional £2 million.

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“It is disappointing that the overall project is now estimated at £8.5 million but we believe Ripon deserves good quality leisure facilities.

“If we had decided not to proceed with the stabilisation works and looked to move the leisure centre side of the operation to another area, we would have had the pool and leisure centre in separate locations which is not only more costly for us to operate, but also not the best option for customers either.”

Work to update the swimming pool and leisure centre began in November 2019 with a new six-lane swimming pool and playground opening in the spring of 2022.

A temporary gym was installed in the centre’s car park when the need for ground stabilisation work came to light.

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The internal refurbishment of the leisure centre has been put on hold until that work is complete.

Councillors will be asked to allocate the £2 million from the strategic capacity reserve budget when they meet next week.

The leisure centre in Ripon has been named after Harrogate-born Jack Laugher, who made history in the 2016 Rio Olympics when he became the first ever Olympic champion in diving for Great Britain, with his diving partner Chris Mears.

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