A turf cutting ceremony has taken place to officially mark the start of a multi-million pound scheme to transform leisure provision in Berwick.
Work is due to commence on Berwick’s new state of the art £20 million leisure centre which is being funded by Northumberland County Council and will be built on the site of the current Swan Centre in Tweedmouth.
Tolent Construction Limited has been appointed as the official contractor and the centre will be constructed in phases to ensure that the existing Swan Centre continues to operate at all times until new facilities open to replace them.
Phase 1 which includes a new swimming pool and fitness suite will start on January 6th next year and is due to open in March 2021. The new centre is expected to be fully complete and open to the public in summer 2022.
Designed by GT3 Architects, the new centre will feature a five-lane, 25m swimming pool, a teaching pool and leisure pool and spa facilities. There will be a sports hall, indoor bowls, fitness studios, cafe and a sensory room. Outside there will be a 3G full-size playing pitch, play park and trim trail and parking for 175 cars.
Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, said:
“This significant investment will create outstanding new facilities for the town and surrounding communities and there is a real sense of anticipation as we mark the start of this work today.
“The current Swan Centre has millions of pounds worth of backlog maintenance issues and is no longer fit for its intended purpose. The landmark new centre will be a focal point not just for local residents but for visitors from further afield and will add to the area’s ever growing tourism offer.”
Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland, the organisation that will manage the centre said:
“One of Active Northumberand’s key aims is to get more people, of all ages involved in physical activity to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This new centre and the facilities within it have been designed with this vision in mind. There will be something for all members of the local community and we hope that it will offer opportunities for more people to be active, more often.”
Berwick's three County Councillors, Cllrs Georgina Hill, Gregah Roughead and Catherine Seymour have also welcomed the news that work on the new leisure centre has commenced.
Cllr Gregah Roughead, local ward for Berwick West with Ord said:
“ It’s an exciting day and I am thrilled that spades are in the ground and work is starting on the development. The local community have had a real say in deciding the facilities within it and I am sure the new centre will be a real asset for the town for generations to come. ”
David Thompson, Regional Director for Tolent, said:
"We are delighted to have been appointed to such a significant project for Berwick and the wider area. This project will not only deliver outstanding leisure and sports facilities but the unique design of the building will be sure to bring interest from far and wide.
"We look forward to working closely with Advance Northumberland and the wider design team to ensure we deliver something that the local community are proud of."
Advance Northumberland, a new regeneration company established by Northumberland County Council is responsible for delivering the project. They appointed a design team that includes lead consultant Henry Riley LLP and GT3 Architects.
Photo: L - R
Dave Thompson, Regional Director Tolent, Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive Active Northumberland, Ken Dunbar Chief Executive Advance Northumberland, Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, arts, tourism and culture.