Labour Councillors have called for a full-scale independent financial inquiry into the costs of Westminster City Council’s proposed new £23 million sports centre to replace the popular Jubilee Sports Centre on the site of the Moberly Sports Centre in Brent, after it has been discovered that the cost of a similar ‘off-the-shelf’ sports centre marketed by Willmott Dixon subsidiary company, Sunesis is just £5.1 million.
Willmott Dixon is Westminster Council’s chosen partner on this project, which also includes over 150 houses and flats on the Moberly and Jubilee sites, all but 12 of which are for private sale to finance the cost of the new leisure centre.
Labour Councillors say that the costs of the proposed new Leisure centre, which is about 50% larger than the Sunesis ‘off-the-shelf’ option, should be considerably less than the £23 million claimed by Westminster Council, even taking in to account the additional facilities and inflation.
According to ‘Save the Jubilee’ campaigners, Willmott Dixon and partner Scape formed ‘Sunesis Leisure’ in 2012. Reported in Construction Enquirer, “Willmott Dixon has teamed-up with procurement body Scape to launch a new range of off-the-shelf designs for leisure centres and swimming pools.”
According to the Sunesis website, the company offers various swimming pool packages, including ‘The Sunsesis Leisure 6 Lane + Dry (www.sunesisbuild.co.uk) at a cost of £5,120,000. Sunesis say that they require a minimum site area of 6,500m2 in which they will build:
• 25 m six lane swimming pool
• 10m x 8m learner pool
• Sports hall 34.5m x 20m (690 sq m)
• 65 station fitness suite
• Mezzanine floor above fitness suite providing 160m2 dance studio
• Changing village
• Staff office and reception
• Plant room
• Foyer with vending and viewing zones
The ‘Save the Jubilee’ campaign points out that the Sunesis offer is the same package proposed by Westminster Council, plus a number of additional facilities – a boxing hall, health spa, exercise studios, cafe, movable floor in the learner pool – which at 9,293 sq m is about 50% larger in area. (See the GLA report for a full description of the Westminster proposal http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/moberley_sports_centre_report.pdf)
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said:
“We are calling for an independent inquiry into the finances of the proposed new leisure centre now that the Sunesis information has been discovered by the ‘Save the Jubilee’ campaign. On the face of it, it looks as if the costs of a new leisure centre should be considerably less than the £23 million ‘free’ leisure centre claimed by Westminster Council. We want an independent inquiry to establish whether the Council’s claims that it cannot afford to include any new social housing in the development are true and whether local residents are being misled by the Council on the finances of this project.”