Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the preferred site for the new build state-of-the-art leisure centre in Bishop Auckland next week.
Tindale Crescent has been selected from the shortlisted sites after taking into consideration a public consultation and a number of factors including technical assessments of the shortlisted sites, a place-based review to consider the wider benefits to communities of each location, health and equality impact assessments.
A proposed community hub with new facilities co-designed by local residents is planned on the existing site at Woodhouse Close, further developing social and community opportunities for the town.
Residents will be able to access the current site during construction of the new centre, ensuring no disruption for leisure users.
Two other centres, at Seaham and Chester-le-Street are also set for approval at the same meeting on Wednesday March 17th.
Although the pandemic has impacted income in leisure centres in the short-term, usage of the centres is expected to rapidly recover once leisure centres reopen and social distancing measures are relaxed.
The wider aims of the leisure transformation programme will see most of the council’s other centres refurbished, updated and made more accessible. The introduction of new activities to reflect changing trends will further support the economic recovery of both the leisure centres and wider county.
With the cost of additional facilities, low carbon measures and the impact of inflation built in, the programme is expected to see a £78 million investment from the council.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Approving the locations of our three new state-of-the-art leisure centres marks a big step forward in our leisure transformation programme.
“Taking into account the wider benefits of the proposals for each location, there will be a greater impact on communities than a new centre alone could have been expected to deliver.
“By providing innovative and accessible leisure facilities, we can help to improve the physical health and mental wellbeing of all our residents, reduce the risk of long-term health conditions and help communities to come together and socialise whilst staying active.
“Following the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, staying healthy and active is more important than ever and I am certain these facilities will match the needs of everyone across the county.
“Furthermore, the opportunities to progress with these exciting facilities, as well as the ongoing improvements being made and planned for in our other centres, will provide much needed support to the county’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”
Cabinet will meet virtually at 9.30am on Wednesday, 17th March. The meeting can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/DurhamCouncil
Full details of the meeting, including all reports, can be found on the Durham County Council website.