GREAT Sankey Leisure Centre will be transformed into a neighbourhood hub with facilities including GP services thanks to a £4 million investment.

Councillors approved the funding for the project last night at an executive board meeting.

Clr Russ Bowden, the council’s executive board member for finance who proposed the project, said: “The new development will build on the very successful model of our neighbourhood hubs at Orford and Woolston.

“GP services and a health centre will be provided alongside sports and leisure facilities, a police office and a modernized library, with a café, a crèche, meeting spaces and dance studios all on the same site.

“The current leisure centre serves a local population of 52,000, but new housing projects will increase this significantly over the next few years.

“Also the proportion of older people is rising, so need to make sure we provide primary care services and doctors’ surgeries for a bigger and changing population.”

Clr Kate Hannon, executive board member for leisure, community and culture, added: “The new facilities will be fantastic. They will include two swimming pools, a large sports hall, a full-size third-generation artificial football pitch and a fitness suite big enough for more than a hundred people. The new hub will meet Warrington’s vision of a healthier, happier and more active population.”

The development will be funded through a loan to LiveWire, to be brokered by the council on favourable terms, with the cash ultimately coming from the Public Works Loan Board.

Jan Souness, managing director of LiveWire, which manages the existing centre and will run the new hub, said: “LiveWire has meticulously researched what local people want and need, ranging from a local GP surgery and health and wellbeing services in a convenient place to sport pitches and a state-of-the-art library that will meet local people’s needs for the digital era.

“Also thanks to this development, more local children will learn to swim, more community groups will find convenient meeting space and more young people will have places to go and things to do.”