Exciting plans have been announced by Warrington Borough Council and LiveWire that will see Birchwood Library relocate into a redeveloped Leisure and Tennis Complex to create a new community hub for the area.
The facility will utilise the borough’s established and successful hub model that places leisure, library and other community services under one roof, to encourage people to participate in new activities to support mental and physical wellbeing.
The relocation of the library falls under Warrington’s ongoing libraries modernisation plan, which has seen improvements made across the library estate, including refurbishments at Stockton Heath and Padgate libraries, to be followed soon by improvements to Penketh and Culcheth.
The redevelopment is being funded by Warrington Borough Council, including using income from the sale of the former St Oliver Plunkett school site, which the council is committed to investing in local community facilities. Work is anticipated to begin later this year and is planned to be completed in early 2023.
Key elements of the redevelopment include:
- Transformation of an underutilised bar area and associated space into a modern, open plan library offer, including children’s area and public network computers
- Refurbishment of the reception area
- Refurbishment of leisure changing room facilities
- A new, second, fitness studio on the ground floor
- Creation of extra fitness studio space, through the extension of the existing first floor studio
The current gym, indoor and outdoor tennis courts managed by LiveWire will be retained, alongside the existing school sports hall.
Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire, said: “I’m delighted that the plans for Birchwood Community Hub are moving forward. We are confident that the library will provide an excellent offer to local residents in a light, friendly and modern space. In addition, the planned improvement work to the reception area and changing rooms, alongside the additional fitness studio space will significantly enhance the customer experience for both existing and new LiveWire members.”
Warrington Borough Council Leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “Over the past few years, the council has made a significant investment in leisure and library services across the borough and it’s fantastic to see this continue. We are able to use the income generated from the sale of the former school site – which is now a successful housing development of over 60 new homes – to invest back into community facilities that will benefit people living in Birchwood and neighbouring areas.
“Our aim is to provide communities with state-of-the-art facilities to help people live active and healthy lifestyles, alongside a library offer that meets the needs of the community, both now and in the future.”
Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure and communities, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “The redevelopment of the existing leisure and library sites in Birchwood is great news and will significantly benefit people living in the local community. We’re following our successful model of providing a wide range of services under one roof which has seen a real positive impact in Orford, Woolston, Great Sankey, and most recently, in Bewsey and Dallam. I’m confident we’ll be able to build on the work done so far to support Warrington residents to lead healthy and happy lives.”
LiveWire will be hosting a series of staffed drop-in sessions at both the library and leisure centre. Existing members and the public are encouraged to come along, look at the plans and give their feedback.
Displays of the redevelopment plans will be installed at both sites from Monday 16 May. Drop-in sessions are as follows:
- Tuesday 17 May, 4.30pm – 6pm
- Saturday 21 May, 10am – 12noon
- Monday 23 May, 11am – 12noon
- Friday 27 May, 3pm – 5pm
- Wednesday 1 June, 10.30am – 11.30am
Birchwood Leisure and Tennis Complex
- Thursday 19 May, 9.30am – 10.30am
- Wednesday 25 May, 3pm – 4pm
- Monday 30 May, 7pm – 8pm
- Saturday 11 June, 12noon – 1pm