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£8m Nottinghamshire health hub awaiting confirmation on Sport England funding

The full costs for a new health centre and swimming pool in Nottinghamshire are yet to be fully confirmed as the council waits for confirmation on grant support from Sport England.

The new building, at Carr Lane Park, Warsop – has been planned through Mansfield District Council’s £12.3m Towns Fund cash.

It’s one of several different projects planned through the Government fund.

Other schemes including new ‘Destination Mansfield’ branding and a business ‘gateway’ near Mansfield Woodhouse Railway Station are planned.

The authority has regularly insisted the new leisure hub is not a replacement for the now-closed Meden Sports Centre.

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But, once complete, it will feature a 15m x 8m swimming pool, changing facilities, a cafe, a viewing area and reception, a fitness suite, a multi-use hall and a games area.

It’s expected to cost at least £7.9m with £3m allocated from the Towns Fund pot.

The Labour-run authority has also bid for between £1m and £1.5m from Sport England and up to £3.5m has been approved in borrowing.

But the full cost to the council is yet to be revealed as it awaits confirmation of how much cash Sport England could provide.

A delegated decision allowed for a maximum of £3.5m to be borrowed to fund any shortfalls in the budget –  but this will depend on the level of cash provided by the Government-supported sports body.

And this decision has not yet been made – leading to some concern from councillors in the corporate resources scrutiny meeting on Tuesday (November 1) that council budgets could be burdened.

Councillor Stuart Wallace (Mans Ind), who represents Carr Bank, said during the meeting: “If the pot the council is trying to receive decreases then it’s going to affect our budget.

“We’re talking about the pounds here and there and it’s going to affect how we plan.”

The meeting was told no “assumptions” have been made about how much money the authority will receive, with budgets to be adjusted by the end of the year – when an announcement is expected.

Dawn Edwards, the council’s head of finance, said: “We’ve not made any assumptions on the Warsop Health Hub in the budget, that still needs to be overlayed onto the budget.

“This is only what we’re planning to receive. We know we’re getting the Towns Fund money but the question is what we’re going to get from Sports England.

“We still haven’t had a decision from Sports England on what we will receive.”

But concerns over rising energy costs and potential increases in construction fees have led to fears the new health hub could become a “white elephant” for the authority.

Cllr David Smith (Mans Ind), who represents the Woodlands ward, said: “The thing with costs is that, with energy and gas prices going up, councils need to know a rough guide.

“A lot of councils are closing pools down because of the cost of heating them – we don’t want to end up with a white elephant so we need all the figures.

“Building costs are still going up and we need to get an idea of what it’s going to cost.

“We need to factor in an increase in building material costs and allow for that as well.”

However, Ms Edwards said any increased costs for the health hub – including maintenance and running fees – would not have an impact on next year’s budget.

This, she said, would impact future years’ budgets once the leisure building has been built.

A wider update on the health hub is expected before the scrutiny committee next month.

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