THE first phase of the £16 million renovation of Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub has officially opened.

The centre on Barrow Hall Lane includes a gym, library, café and updated sports facilities and the building was opened to the public yesterday, Monday.

Although the swimming pool is not yet complete, visitors will be able to use the new fitness suite, three group exercise studios - including an indoor spin studio - as well as the library and computing area.

Emma Hutchinson, managing director of LiveWire, said: “Admittedly it has been quite a complex building project, so time scales have not been as quick as we would have liked but we think it is an excellent opportunity for residents to come along and see what we have on offer and hopefully take part to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Health rooms will be available at the centre, due to open in April, for specific NHS services west of Warrington and a pharmacy will also be opening later in the year.

John Walker, from Walker Simpson Architects, was behind the design and build of the new hub.

He said: “We have developed key aspects of the hub to make it dementia friendly. There is lots of natural light from the windows and this is well balanced by good levels of artificial light.”

Clear diagrams explain how the building works and provide a good sense of how to navigate the building.

John added: “All the floor finishes are uniform so there are no high contrast changes because people with dementia find this quite difficult.”

Quiet rooms are situated in the main entrance for those who may feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Warrington Borough Council’s executive board member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “I’m very excited about the new library at the hub and to have the first dementia friendly leisure centre in the north west is very exciting for everybody.

“My ambition for Warrington is to ensure all future developments for our libraries, which are now under review, will be moving towards being dementia friendly. It sits at the heart of our ambition to protect the most vulnerable.

“Our services at the Great Sankey Hub are fantastic and I urge everyone to come down and see what’s on offer.”