The development of a new state-of-the-art Leisure and Community Services Hub in Morpeth is moving forward at pace.
The new facility will include a 6 lane swimming pool with spectator gallery, a learner pool, spa facilities, a 4-court sports hall, a new 100 station fitness suite, a dedicated spinning studio, large fitness studios, a cafe area and soft play.
Key community services consisting of a library (which will be close to double the size of the existing facility in Manchester Street), a Customer Services facility and new Adult Learning facilities will also be relocated to the new centre.
Two public consultation events took place in the town hall in September where the public were invited to view and comment on plans for the new centre in advance of a planning application which is to be submitted in October.
Site enabling works are now commencing on The Terrace site on Gas House Lane which will include the demolition of two buildings, known as The Willows and Beechfield House. The buildings were badly damaged during the flood in 2008 are structurally unsound and beyond economic repair.
The Willows and Beechfield were previously marketed extensively but have now been empty for more than ten years. Last year the council carried out structural work to make sure the buildings remained safe, however sadly the cost to bring these buildings back into use has proved to be too prohibitive.
This site enabling work is expected to take ten weeks. During this time residents will still be able to access nearby health services however the temporary car park on the former library site in Morpeth will be out of use from 30th September.
Northumberland County Councillor, Richard Wearmouth, cabinet member with responsibility for Economic Development said: “The new centre will provide modern, high quality facilities that can be enjoyed by all members of the community.
“We’ve had two very constructive public events where local residents and businesses could see the proposed plans and put forward their views. We’ve received some great feedback and many positive comments.
"While it is exciting that we are moving forward with the new development, it has now come to the time where we need to prepare the ground on which it will be built and this includes the demolition of two buildings.
“While this is regrettable, it is necessary to allow for the construction of a much needed new leisure and community services hub that will be used by thousands of Morpeth residents for many years to come.”
Tracey Bell, Town Clerk from Morpeth Town Council said:
“The population of Morpeth is constantly growing and the town is in real need of modern sport and leisure facilities. After careful consideration by key partners in the town of all the potential sites for the new centre, the Terrace was chosen as the best option.
“ At the Morpeth Forum events in March and September we talked to a lot of people about the site and implications around the two buildings. Residents were very supportive and understood the buildings could not feasibly be retained. We now look forward to a fantastic new centre which will inject new life into this area of Morpeth and be a great asset for the town.”
Construction of the new Leisure and Community Facility is due to commence in Spring 2020.
02 Oct 2019