Council announces recommended contractor for Life Centre scheme

14 Jan 2010
A report recommending Balfour Beatty as the main contractor for Plymouth’s prestigious Life Centre scheme will be considered by the City Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday 19th January.

Balfour Beatty is one of five companies that submitted tenders for the £46.5 million project and was selected as the recommended contractor following a detailed tender evaluation process.

If approved, the construction firm will start work on site at the beginning of February. The contract will also include the demolition of the Mayflower Centre and Central Park Leisure Pools when the new Life Centre opens, as well as the forthcoming demolition of the skate park (which is being replaced with a new one nearby).

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property, said: “We were delighted with the response from tenderers for the construction of the Life Centre. This is an important decision for the Council and a major award in our capital programme so we have taken time to consider all of the bids very carefully and ensure we select the right company.”

Balfour Beatty is one of the largest construction companies in the world and a leader in railway infrastructure, roads, support services, electrical and mechanical engineering and many other disciplines. It led the UK side of the Channel Tunnel building contract and joined forces with Costain to build the Cardiff Bay Barrage (a contract worth £93 million).

The company has been involved in a number of sports and leisure projects boasting Olympic standard facilities, including the London Aquatic Centre, Sunderland Aquatic and Wellness Centre and the National Swimming Academy in Stirling. It has offices in Plymouth, Exeter, Bristol and Truro.

The Life Centre will see the city’s biggest ever investment in leisure facilities and is designed to meet the city’s sporting needs well into the 21st century. It will offer affordable sessions aimed at increasing participation in sports and improving the overall health and fitness of local residents. Providing a regional facility of this quality is also key to wider regeneration plans for Central Park and will help to attract further investment into Plymouth.

Council Leader Vivien Pengelly said: “Appointing a contractor marks the last crucial milestone in laying the groundwork for the Life Centre and we are so excited to be reaching this stage in the project. Plymouth has waited a long time for the dream of a top-class leisure facility to become a reality and in less than a month we should see work starting on site.”

The Life Centre scheme will be funded mainly through capital receipts (money raised through the sale of Council assets) and Council borrowing, plus a £2.5 million contribution from the University of Plymouth and a grant of £1.99 million from Sport England’s Sustainable Facilities Fund.

Work on the centre is scheduled to be completed in September 2011.

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