A NEW £10 million leisure centre and a state-of-the-art health hub will be created in Horwich after plans were rubber stamped.

Work can now begin to create the new leisure centre on the car park of the current centre in Victoria Road.

Bolton Council’s planning committee has also approved outline plans to create a £6.8 health super-centre opposite on the site of the current centre.

The committee passed the plans despite objections from local residents and community groups who believe there has not been enough consultation with people regarding the leisure centre — which some also believe will be too small.

Once built, the centre will be run by the Bolton Community Leisure Trust.

The council will pay for half of the project and lend the trust another £5 million to complete the centre.

Opposition councillors on the committee had suggested a compromise — meaning the plans could be approved but only on the proviso that officers would carry out further consultation with groups who will be using the new facility.

But council leader Cliff Morris spoke against this proposal, adding: “Let's get on with it. Let's develop this and have a good new facility for the whole of the west of the borough.

"I am all in favour of consulting with the clubs, but we have got to get on with this and start doing it."

The committee heard objections on behalf of the Horwich First community group, through independent town councillor Marie Brady.

She said: “A public meeting was arranged to provide Bolton Communities Leisure and Trust with an opportunity to address these concerns, however by the close of the meeting out of 170 present, comprising sports clubs, social group users, individual members of the leisure centre and local residents, a show of hands had just one person, a borough councillor supporting the plans.”

The health centre aspect of the plan will see Horwich’s three GP practices come together on one site after they secured funding from NHS England.

Speaking at the meeting, one of the doctors involved, Anne Talbot said: "This will be an absolutely fantastic development that will integrate health, well-being and leisure in the heart of Horwich town centre."

As well as a 25-metre, six-lane pool with a separate training pool, the new centre, which will be built on the current facility's car park, will also include a 100-station fitness suite, spin and dance studios, a four court sports hall, changing facilities and new car parking.

The leisure centre is expected to take about 14 months to build.