Leading baby and child swimming school Puddle Ducks has plans to open a unique new facility at Barons Quay, Northwich. A state-of-the-art flagship swimming centre, catering to the specific requirements of babies and children 0-10yrs, could be open by 2020.

Puddle Ducks has submitted a planning application for change of use from retail to D2, ‘leisure and assembly’ to enable them to create a dedicated Puddle Ducks pool. The proposed innovative use of an empty retail building demonstrates how leisure and other non-retail outlets can become a key element of a thriving high street.

The Puddle Ducks swimming pool is being created to meet the needs of babies, young children and their families and the venue and classes will be fully inclusive and accessible. Water will be maintained at a consistently comfortable temperature in a calm environment, changing facilities will be family friendly and there will be a pool viewing area for the use of family and friends. It will also become a national teacher training centre.

On the decision to base the swimming centre at Barons Quay, Jo Stone co-owner of Puddle Ducks commented, “The intention has always been that the centre should be both retail and leisure, making Barons Quay a perfect location for Puddle Ducks. With new tenants moving in, we firmly believe that the centre is facing a bright future. It takes a little ‘outside the box’ thinking to envisage a pool in a unit previously destined for retail use, but we feel it makes perfect sense.

She continued, “Placing our pool in the middle of a mixed use town centre site with free parking, will make it easier for parents and their children to get here and to combine their trip with making use of other local facilities. That would be great for them and even better for local business owners and the town in general.

“Puddle Ducks classes are in demand and the proposed project will help bring more people into Barons Quay and surrounding area. We hope to find out from planning very soon.”

Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, Councillor Richard Beacham, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Puddle Ducks on potentially bringing something completely different to Barons Quay. This is a really exciting development for us and one which will really benefit the local families of Northwich.

“This is yet another step along the journey towards Northwich becoming a retail, leisure and cultural destination in the heart of mid-Cheshire.”

The very first Puddle Ducks classes took place in Northwich back in 2002 at a school in Greenbank, so it was one of the first UK towns to embrace the importance of early years swimming for 0-10 year olds. It is fitting that the company should want to base their new flagship pool here in the town centre.

Puddle Ducks was founded by co-owners Jo Stone and Tracy Townend and the company now teaches over 21,000 children to swim every week across the UK.