The first phase of refurbishment work at a Chester leisure centre has almost been completed.
The ‘much-needed’ work has been taking place to the reception area and café at Northgate Arena in Chester.
Brio Leisure, who run the centre, have now confirmed that the first phase of the refurbishment works are almost complete.
The investment is an attempt to make the centre a modern, attractive and accessible venue.
The work is costing £600,000 and is being funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and delivered by Qwest, the council’s joint venture partner
Councillor Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Council Leader said: “We’re delighted to have reached this exciting milestone in the life of Northgate Arena.
“Creating opportunities for residents to look after their health and wellbeing is at the heart of our Stronger Futures plan for the borough’s recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19.
“Seeing the interior of this much-loved venue being brought up to date in such innovative ways is very heartening.
“The thought of being able to meet friends and family once restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to do so, will be a welcome experience for many of us to look forward to.”
Work has been taking place whilst the building has been closed due to COVID-19.
Funding has been used to upgrade parts of the existing building, and it is expected that the project will be completed by the time the leisure industry can re-open for business on April 12.
However, COVID-19 restrictions may mean people have to wait a little while longer to use the new café for refreshments.
There have been major changes to the café area creating a large welcoming space to enjoy food and drinks, along with a dedicated family zone.
A much-needed kitchen overhaul and new servery area will allow the catering team to prepare and provide a fresh, healthy range of food, along with the popular Costa offer, as soon as the current coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The centre is also making the most of gaming technology to get people physically active.
A digital activity wall will be installed in the community area that provides interactive gaming to get you moving for the whole family to enjoy.
The investment also includes improved viewing into the sports hall from the ground floor main corridor, perfect for watching the many sporting events and competitions that take place.
Additionally, toilets have been added to the café which now provides more accessible facilities, including improved baby change facilities, making the whole customer experience significantly better than before.
Further investment into Northgate Arena to improve its carbon footprint is also underway during 2021.
Elly McFahn, Managing Director for Brio, said: “Both the Council and Brio have worked hard throughout this really challenging Covid period to use the time effectively to undertake this initial investment to the site.
“We hope that our customers recognise the commitment to overhaul Northgate Arena by carrying out this initial project.
“Improving the leisure experience with modern fit for purpose facilities will help to support our communities return to their leisure activities to improve their health and wellbeing post the Covid pandemic.
“Northgate Arena is a well-known building in Chester and deserves this long-awaited upgrade.”
The completion of Phase 1 works will be followed up later during 2021 with further investment, to focus on upgrading much needed improvements to the gym, studios, pool hall and all associated changing facilities, and which was approved by cabinet in November 2020.
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