DEVELOPMENTS at the Sands Centre are just three days behind schedule in spite of the challenges caused by Covid-19 and Brexit.

At a meeting of Carlisle City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, deputy chief executive Darren Crossley gave an update on the £25 million redevelopment of The Sands Centre.

Work on the new look of Carlisle’s iconic venue is well underway and Mr Crossley said that the contract holder has been resilient and adaptable to the circumstances.

He said: “The main works contract is with Wates Construction Limited who’ve been with us through the development stage and now the construction who we’re working I think very well with, we have our moments of course but a really good team ethic.”

“We are at the time of reporting about three days behind schedule but contractually and working with Wates they don’t expect that to be a significant issue.”

Councillor Jack Paton said: “That is amazing when you consider the problems we’ve all went through with people on furlough people being ill, that’s an amazing achievement.”

Mr Crossley said that the contractor has seen its challenges: “The combination of effects of things like Covid, possibly supply issues relating to Brexit but moreover workforce issues in particular the supplies drivers crisis is meaning that Wates are challenged.

“On site over the last month there’s been rather a lot of what looks like insulation materials stored on the roof, and basically that’s us purchasing materials ahead of time and having limited yard to store them in. Fortunately for us we’ve got a big roof space. We’ve had to take some steps in the project to try and keep on track.”

Steelworks on the major structural aspects of the building are now complete and groundworks are taking shape.

“We’ve still got some secondary steelwork to complete around the site but the roof as much of the facilities is now on as well.”

Mr Crossley added that with concrete flooring, drainage and foundations now complete, the development is into a new phase.

A spectator gallery and stairs are now in place. Those working on site can access the areas without the use of cranes.

Concreting work for the two swimming pools is underway, they are designed to replace the ageing James Street Baths.

Plans include a four-court sports hall, fitness suite and upgrades to the events hall.

Developments will allow the North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust Musculoskeletal team to expand to expand their offering which was already run from The Sands. They will also be able to develop new treatment activities with GLL and partners.

Mr Crossley said: “We’re already able to provide continuity of services for physio therapy services, for the gym, exercise classes.”