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wellness
centres
building and leases the premises to PCTs, £500,000 from the Neighbourhood might have liked to use Combined Heat
GPs, local authorities and so on. Renewal Fund and £350,000 from the and Power (CHP) across the board.”
While very similar to the PFI Single Regeneration Budget, with the rest Another challenge stemmed from the
scheme, LIFT typically offers good coming from the PCT. broad remit of LIFT and the fact that
levels of fl exibility for health tenants, With the entire process so deadline- leisure provision is not its sole focus.
with attractive short-term leases. The driven, there were some clear Nightingale – as the architect across the
common approach, using the same challenges. Justin Harris, director of whole East Lancs LIFT scheme – had
partners across a range of projects, also Nightingale Associates, the architect for not previously delivered a public 25m
offers economies of scale and speed the scheme, says: “While we had a very swimming pool. However, says Harris:
as additional advantages – once the well developed brief, the timetable was “We were fortunate to be able to
LIFTCo is set up, very little additional demanding. We went from initial designs work very closely from the outset with
procurement usually takes place. to planning in about six months.” He a number of partners – including the
adds that the strategic review of leisure operator (Burnley Borough Council) and
race against time services had already made reasonably various specialist contractors. I know
In the case of St Peter’s, the entire specifi c recommendations about the it’s a cliché, but if the partnership hadn’t
process from concept to opening was facilities required, so scheduling and worked really well, we simply wouldn’t
completed in just over 18 months – a truly scoping processes were well underway. have fi nished the project on time.”
rapid turnaround for such a substantial Had there been more time, however, Mick Cartledge, director of community
scheme, but not without its drawbacks. Harris feels they might have made a few services, says that the deadline had the
Both the PCT and the council had set tweaks from a design and engineering effect of focusing the collective mind
strict deadlines for completion of the perspective: “We would perhaps have of everyone involved. Nevertheless, he
project, in addition to which some of the liked to push the engineering of the confesses: “There’s one thing I would
funding – such as the £1m Big Lottery building a little further. As the health do differently. We transferred from our
Fund grant from Sport England – had to be facilities and the leisure offer have split old centre to the new one in just two
activated by a certain date. Other funding management, we took slightly different weeks to minimise the impact on existing
sources included £7m from the council, approaches to the heating and energy. We customers. Staff were amazing and some
worked through the night, but an extra
week may have resulted in fewer grey
ABOUT BURNLEY
hairs for a number of people.”
Lang agrees: “We closed on Sunday
B
urnley, population c.90,000, is a participate in 30 minutes of sport and had a soft opening on Friday.
town located in the north-west at least three times a week, placing Fortunately we didn’t have to recruit
of England which developed and Burnley in the middle quartile nationally. many new staff. We brought most over
grew with the industrial revolution. For most other KPIs – covering tuition, from the William Thompson Centre, so
The gradual decline of the textile sports club membership, volunteering they had experience.”
industry in particular has had a and taking part in organised competitive
dramatic impact on the town today, sport – Burnley was placed in either the two become one
and there are pockets of signifi cant middle or bottom quartiles. One of the greatest challenges for
social and economic deprivation. The exception is KPI 6, satisfaction projects of this nature is creating an
The town made the national with local sports provision, which environment that’s welcoming and
headlines for all the wrong reasons scored 75.5 per cent against a national accessible. At the root of many people’s
in June 2001, when racially-motivated average of 69.5 per cent. This suggests uncertainty regarding the concept of
tensions developed into major riots. that the development of new facilities wellness centres, or polyclinics, is the
The smoothing of community relations and an improved overall service is being sense that the atmosphere and personal
and development of schemes to noted and well received by locals. This quality of the services offered by GPs in
encourage social cohesion have been a development is ongoing – the Padiham traditional clinics will be lost.
major point of local policy ever since. Leisure Centre is currently being Harris says addressing this issue was
The Active People survey of 2006 refurbished at a cost of £1.25m and is a priority. “This is a very substantial
showed that 19.7 per cent of adults due to re-open in July 2009. building, but we didn’t want it to be
intimidating or too clinical. We’ve
tried to create a lot of natural light and
comfortable waiting areas, avoiding
corridors. This has meant small, intimate
spaces. The site constraints meant that
the footprint is not large, but there was
scope for building upwards.”
At 10 storeys, this potential was
certainly realised – St Peter’s is the
tallest building in Burnley.
The team also tried to ensure that
community consultation was at the top
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