All change as council spends £6m on sport in Wigan

Robin Park gym will get a makeover
Robin Park gym will get a makeover

The borough’s biggest leisure hub is to be given a £6m makeover.

Over the next 12 months Robin Park Sports and Tennis Centre will see new gym, fitness and wellbeing facilities installed.

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And at the same time Wigan Warriors are looking to bring both their training facilities - currently based at Edge Hall Road, Orrell - and administrative side - presently ensconced at Central Park in Pemberton - down to the nearby Robin Park Arena.

The latter arrangements automatically prompt as-yet-unanswered questions as to what will become of those vacated sites.

Warriors say they are “exploring a range of options” for Edge Hall Road with nothing concrete settled upon yet, while Central Park will be taken over by leisure provider Inspiring healthy lifestyles (IHL) for some kind of community use.

The plans for the leisure centre, built in the early 1990s, will enhance the current sport and leisure offer available for residents in the area and create more opportunities for them to become healthy and active, council chiefs say.

The £6m council cash injection follows significant developments at Ashton, Howe Bridge and Leigh Leisure Centres plus Wigan Life Centre all aimed to improving residents’ fitness.

Authority chiefs say the investment will see it transformed into a “world class sports facility” with more than £3.5m spent in the next 12 months.

A new cycle studio for virtual and instructor-led classes will be introduced as well as an extended gym with the latest Technogym kit, new fitness studios with functional training area, new sauna and steam rooms, and a dedicated gymnastics centre.

Coun James Moodie, lead member for leisure and public health, said: “As part of The Deal for Health and Wellness, we are committed to providing more opportunities to help residents get active and healthy in their local communities. That’s why we are making a significant investment in our communities to develop our brilliant leisure facilities. Research shows that removing the physical barriers to exercise can have massive benefits to the NHS by preventing people getting ill later on in life.”

IHL managing director Pete Burt said: “The development of our offering at Robin Park represents another positive step in our vision to create the best possible environments for our residents to live happy and healthy lives. This will be another example of first class facilities being made available at your local leisure centre.”

As part of the council investment, the arena will become the Warriors’ base for their professional teams and education programmes. The public will continue to have full access to facilities, which will include a newly-renovated indoor running track.

With the Warriors’ taking on the lease for the arena it will increase the venue’s accessibility and save the council subsidy and maintenance costs, town hall chiefs say.

Club executive director Kris Radlinski said: “We are delighted to be working with Wigan Council and Inspiring healthy lifestyles on such a major development for sport and wellbeing facilities. As a club we have a strong ethos of supporting our local community, and working strategically with both organisations will enable us all to excel in this area.

“We are thrilled to be supporting a sustainable long term plan for the arena and believe that our programmes and upgrade of facilities will create a truly world class offering.”