No threat to £25m leisure centre insists the new council body

An impression of the swimming pool at the new Craigavon Leisure Centre.

An impression of the swimming pool at the new Craigavon Leisure Centre.

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The new Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council has played down concerns that there is any threat to the new £25m leisure centre at Craigavon Lakes.

There had been worries about the project facing stiff competition from other capital projects in the Armagh and Banbridge areas.

Craigavon Borough Council has already formally approved the project but it goes out of existence in April.

Any large scale capital build from the three existing councils of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon above the £250,000 threshold will have to be “subject to ABC approval”.

But in a statement, the ABC council says it will support any of the projects already started by any of the three councils.

However, there remains some uncertainty about when work could begin.

A council spokeswoman said, “The new council has agreed to support any capital project already started by the existing councils such as the CBC new £30million leisure centre, and the £25million Armagh Goal project.

“Members are keen to continue to invest in the council area and will be considering what their priorities will be within the next six months in terms of both the sequence and affordability of these and the effect on the rates.”

Councillor Darryn Causby, the leader of the new council, is confident it is full steam ahead for the leisure centre.

“I do not envisage any problems coming up,” he said. “If there are I would be very surprised indeed.

“Our party (the DUP) is strongly in support of it, I can tell you that, and I would be very surprised if any of the other elected councillors from Craigavon would scupper it.”

Mr Causby said it was his understanding that the leisure project had already been built into the expected rates figure for the new ABC Council.

Councillor Jim Speers, the leader of the Ulster Unionists on the new council, predicts there will be information processes about projects in each respective council area, including those projects that have already started.

“Councillors will want to become acquainted with the projects in different areas, and where they are not started it may be that they may want to change it slightly or tweak it, or make sure they benefit from the latest modern technology,” said Mr Speers.

“But if for instance Craigavon Council has started a new project it would not be in the best interests to create a new model or go in and start criticising. But we could give advice on how something could be done slightly differently.”

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