Oldham has moved a step closer to the construction of a new leisure centre as a contractor was selected for the project.

Willmott Dixon will take on the £9 million development after Oldham Council announced that it had exchanged contracts to purchase the Aldi stores on both Eagle Street and Manchester Street.

The local authority noted that the leisure centre will replace the Oldham Sports Centre once it is completed in 2014. The highlighted plot of land contains buildings that have stood there since 1989 and as part of the construction process will be demolished in order to make way for the new leisure centre.

Following the success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games many people are looking to keep fit and stay in shape and the council has recognised this by looking to create a new leisure centre that can be enjoyed and used by the entire community of the Greater Manchester town.

Due to the 2014 completion date it will come in time for the planned expansion of the Metrolink tram network making it easier to commute to and from Manchester. The current line runs to Oldham Mumps but there are detailed extension plans afoot that will include a stop at Oldham Central and Oldham King Street before moving on to Rochdale.

Anthony Dillon, Willmott Dixon's managing director, northern region, said: "We are delighted to be working with Oldham Council to deliver this fantastic facility that the whole community can benefit from and contribute to the on-going regeneration of the town.

"As with the academies projects we will be working closely with the council to ensure the maximum economic impact for the people and businesses of Oldham."

Willmott Dixon also announced that it has secured a £6 million contract to build a new leisure centre in nearby Royton after it was recognised for delivering a number of major projects around Oldham on time. The securing of both of these contracts highlights the strong performance the company has experienced during the opening part of the year.

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