Kidsgrove Town Deal project: Kidsgrove Sports Centre

When the Town Investment Plan was being developed for Kidsgrove, the Board agreed on three objectives, to help drive regeneration in the area.

  • Objective 1: to drive growth and opportunity through enhanced enterprise infrastructure in Kidsgrove
  • Objective 2: to create a connected, accessible town centre
  • Objective 3: to maximise the leisure and recreation opportunities available in Kidsgrove

The Kidsgrove Sports Centre project sits under objective 3. The projects in this objective have two aims. One is to provide facilities that local people want. The other is for residents to improve their health and wellbeing. Better access to sports and leisure opportunities will help to boost participation in sport, activity levels and health and wellbeing for Kidsgrove’s residents.

Accelerated funding

In spring 2020, the government allocated some extra funding to every town selected to work towards a Town Deal. The amount depended on their population size - Kidsgrove received £750,000. Projects had to be paid for by 31 March 2021. On 30 July 2020, the Town Deal Board set out how the funding should be spent and this was approved by the government on 11 August 2020.

Capital investment in health and well-being projects was prioritised to address local issues. The grant funding was used to contribute to Kidsgrove Sports Village.

Kidsgrove Sports Village

The Kidsgrove Sports Village concept aimed to provide high quality leisure facilities and health and wellbeing services across Kidsgrove.

The Town Fund Accelerated Funding paid for the strip out and early works at the leisure centre. This helped to speed up the redevelopment of this derelict but important public asset.

Funding was also used to improve the King’s School sports pitches. The Astroturf pitch had been condemned, and the school’s grass pitches suffered from poor drainage. The Accelerated Funding payment addressed the funding gap. This guaranteed the delivery of leisure facilities for both the school and the community of Kidsgrove.

Kidsgrove Sports Centre

Following the strip-out work, the main Town Deal funding went on the refurbishment and re-opening of the dry and wet-side facilities at Kidsgrove Sports Centre. A fully refurbished Kidsgrove Sports Centre opened its doors 0n 25 July 2022, following the £7.5 million transformation financed by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Town Deal funding.

We have worked closely with Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group, a registered charity, over the past five years to find a sustainable way of delivering premium health and fitness facilities for residents after a withdrawal of previous service provision, in June 2017, partly due to the poor condition of the Fourth Avenue building.

The major renovation – carried out by contractor Willmott Dixon after assessments showed that refurbishment was the most cost-effective option – features a 25m, six lane swimming pool with accessibility aids; the largest sports hall in North Staffordshire, a fully equipped gym and fitness suite together with a dance studio, spinning studio and physio area. The improvements incorporate elements such as modern flooring, heating, lighting and ventilation as well as a new roof and signs in braille.

The Council, who now owns the building, has entered into a 25-year lease with the community group, enabling it to operate the high quality facilities under a community management model. Visitors can pay as they go or sign up to flexible and affordable membership packages which offer great value for regular users.

Moving forward

Although the work on the Sports Centre is now complete, we and the Town Deal Board are still required to report on progress with all the Town Deal projects. Individual sub-groups were set up for each project to develop the business cases, which had to be approved by government before any funding was released. This was to ensure that the projects represented good value for money and could be delivered on time. The project sub-group continues to meet quarterly to monitor progress and will do so for the lifetime of the funding agreement (to March 2026).

Current sub-group membership

  • Councillor Simon Tagg (Chair) - Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council (Board member)
  • Councillor Gill Burnett (Vice Chair) - Sports Centre Chief Information Officer (Board member)
  • Jonathan Gullis - MP (Board member)
  • Emily Verow - The King's School (Board member)
  • Rob Timmis - The King's School (Board member alternate)
  • Simon McEneny - Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council (officer support)
  • Councillor Jill Waring - Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council (Cabinet member)
  • Trudi Barnard - Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council (officer support)