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Structural work begins at sports centre

The popular Leigh Sports Village which requires some remedial work
The popular Leigh Sports Village which requires some remedial work

Leisure bosses are set to spend nearly £500,000 on repairing the walls at a showpiece sports centre.

Investigations by engineers at Leigh Indoor Sports Centre and Leigh Harriers building found there were “insufficient structural ties”.

Initial estimates put the cost of the potential scheme at £684,977 - but further exploratory work has brought the bill down to £475,000.

The cash cannot be recouped from the original builders of the centre, which is less than 10 years old, by the council as they are said to have gone bust.

Problems were first identified by the authority when the gym at the sports centre was refurbished last year. It was discovered that the existing walls didn’t have enough ties and structural engineers NPS were brought in to see whether there were similar issues across the complex, which is operated by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust and also features a nine-court sports hall and six-lane pool.

Council papers on the operation state: “The actual defects originally identified were found not to be consistent throughout the building and the subsequent cost of repair is some £200,000 less than the original estimate.

“A substantial contingency has been included to cover areas that were inaccessible without major disruption to the centre. These areas will be repaired if required, during the planned repair works in these areas, when ceilings are removed and the areas are out of use.”

Penny McGinty, the council’s assistant director for corporate contracts and assets, said: “When we recently did some work to the centre we identified works and improvements that need to be made to the building so it meets current building regulations. We have considered the age of the building and whether the construction company who built the building should be responsible for these works.

“However, that company has gone out of business so we cannot pursue them for this essential work.

“After some investigation the issues aren’t as significant as we originally thought and the cost is lower than we expected.”

The £475,000 covers both the cost of enabling works and the main repairs.

The sports complex was first operational in December 2008 and officially opened by The Queen in 2009.