Work starts on new health, leisure and social care centre
Published on 26th June 2012
Work is in full swing on a brand new £18m leisure, health and social care centre in Sandwell.
Ground works are under way at the site of the Portway Lifestyle Centre in Oldbury after financial and legal contracts were signed for the scheme.
Over the coming weeks contractor Thomas Vale will carry out soil stabilisation works and construct foundations for the building's steel frame.
The venue, which will bring together leisure, health and social care under one roof, is a joint project between Sandwell Council and Sandwell Primary Care Trust (PCT). It is due to open next summer.
Sandwell Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for strategic resources Councillor Steve Eling said: "It's great to see all the activity under way and the site starting to come together.
"It is a major vote of confidence Sandwell can undertake a multimillion pound scheme in this tough economic time."
Facilities at the centre will include a four-court sports hall, climbing wall, dance studio, gym and full-sized, all-weather pitch.
There will also be a hydrotherapy pool for therapeutic purposes, a café and a GP surgery.
Sandwell Leisure Trust, which manages sport and leisure facilities and sports development in the borough, will create 12 new jobs because of the scheme, on the site of the former Oldbury Leisure Centre.
Lois Taylor, chair of the leisure trust, said: "Portway Lifestyle Centre will be a centre of excellence for both able-bodied and disabled people.
"It will be a tremendous asset to the people of Sandwell and beyond."
A community group has been set up to advise on design and services at the lifestyle centre.
Sandwell PCT non-executive director Richard Nugent said: "The lifestyle centre will bring major benefits to local people in terms of health, well being and physical activity."
The council and Sandwell PCT are working on the scheme with Sandwell LiftCo, a partnership of private and public sector organizations which invests in major health and social care projects.
Mike Nicklin, regional general manager, Sandwell LiftCo, said: "We are pleased to support a centre which is set to become a beacon for other leisure centres around the country."
Sport England gave the scheme £1.5m of National Lottery funding from its Iconic Facilities fund, part of a legacy programme for the Olympics and Paralympics.
The centre will also carry the London 2012 Inspire mark to celebrate the link to the Games.