This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 20/07/2017.
The cost of building New Addington’s new leisure centre has risen by £8 million
Croydon Council has said the cost of building New Addington’s new leisure centre has gone up by £8 million because the original price which it gave for the project was only an estimate.
Back when the scheme was originally unveiled in February 2016, the estimated cost of the new state-of-the-art facility which will replace the current leisure centre between Central Parade and Chertsey Crescent was £17 million.
But this has now soared to £25 million.
The project was given the green light last August when it was still expected that the total outlay would be £17 million.
At a council cabinet meeting in March, however, it was revealed that the price had spiralled to £23 million.
And now another £2 million has been added to the final expected bill.
When asked what the extra £8 million was for a spokesman for Croydon Council said: “The original £17m estimate was based upon very much an outline concept for a standard leisure centre.
“Since then we have upgraded the specification for the two pools and added a variety of facilities including a large sports hall, multi-function studios and improved community spaces.
“This is as well as having an excellent overall design.
“These factors, plus the eight houses [being built as part of the development] and the constraints imposed by the village green protection order, have all added to the level of investment the council is putting into the area.”
Conservative councillor Mario Creatura is unimpressed by the £8 million hike.
He said: “We [the Conservatives when in charge of the council] were going to do it for £17 million. Labour changed the scheme and it now costs £25 million. Our [plan] was to have a major supermarket that local people wanted and Labour’s doesn’t – so Croydon taxpayers are now footing the entire bill.
“More cost-conscious councils tend to get a major retailer to be the anchor in centre regenerations to keep costs down – Labour appear to just be borrowing more – heaping debt upon debt.”
In response Labour’s Fieldway councillor Simon Hall, who is also the council’s cabinet member for finance and treasury, gave his reasoning for why the cost has risen so sharply.
He said: “It is a much bigger scheme than had been anticipated back when it was announced in February 2016 – including two swimming pools and a full leisure centre.
“The estimate of this [cost] was upped to about £23 million [in March] and the extra £2 million, which was presented at cabinet [on Monday], covers the cost of building the houses which are part of the scheme.”
Cllr Hall added that the extra £2 million was being borrowed to enable the construction of eight homes which will be sold off when the scheme is complete.
Work on the site, which will include the eight homes which will be a mix of three-bedroom and four-bedroom properties on Chertsey Crescent, began last month.
Croydon Council estimates that construction of the homes will start this September and that the leisure centre will be open to the public in the autumn of 2018.
When it is completed, the new multi-level facility will have a 25-metre, six-lane main swimming pool, a learning pool and seating for spectators.
Other facilities will include a café, fitness suite, sports hall, crèche and studios while a new community centre will have multi-purpose halls, meeting rooms, offices and dressing rooms, in addition to a stage for community shows and an annual pantomime.
Cllr Hall added: “People in New Addington have been waiting for new facilities for a long time.
“We are determined to deliver this scheme.”