|Sport England splashes out in Ashton
A £600,000 redevelopment of the swimming pool at Ashton Leisure Centre is a step closer after being given the green light by Sport England.
Wigan Council, which manages the borough's public pools through Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust, aplied for a slice of the Government's £25million capital pools programme last year.
A second application will now be submitted and, if successful, work refurbishing and modernising the facility on Old Road, Ashton-In-Makerfield could start in December this year.
More than £80m worth of bids were received nationally by Sport England, who have now confirmed the success of the initial applications and encouraged further bids from those successful in stage one.
Wigan's Cabinet Member for Culture Brian Baldwin says:
"This is fantastic news and will make a massive difference to the people of Ashton and across the borough.
"It recognises our success in becoming one of the first authorities in the UK to deliver free swimming for under 16s and over 60s.
"We're committed to encouraging people to live healthier lives, tackling obesity rates and reaping the long term health benefits. Improving our facilities should inspire people to use them and this is another significant step in that direction."
Improvements at the centre will include full refurbishment of the entrance area, modernisation of the changing rooms, full refurbishment of the small and large pool including ceiling, lighting, decoration, wall tiling and floor tiling.
Applications were submitted to revamp and refurbish three of the borough's pools. Sport England has confirmed that applications for Tyldesley Pool and Hindley Pool have been unsuccessful, although there is an opportunity to apply for part of a further £25m worth of funding when it becomes available.
Cllr Baldwin added: "We are extremely grateful to Sport England. Ideally we would have wanted all applications to have been approved but this is a start and we shall continue to apply for more funds for Tyldesley and Hindley."