Milestone in planning for new facility

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PLANS to create a new state-of-the-art leisure centre in Ashington have taken a step forward.

The development of the new £20m community and leisure facility in Ashington has reached a major milestone, as a planning application for the project has been submitted to Northumberland County Council, with a decision expected early next year.

The new building will be a welcoming and inclusive space that is informative, friendly, safe and accessible to all customers – providing a vibrant place for residents to engage with the council and services, as well as a calm and relaxing environment to read, learn or meet friends.

It will be the first point of contact for frontline council services, including a high quality library with the latest interactive technology, a registrar’s service, advice and information, a café and meeting spaces all in one location.

The contemporary leisure facilities will feature a new swimming pool, advanced gym facilities, spa, multi-functional sports hall and studio space to host classes and activities.

Arch Group managing director, Peter McIntyre, said: “The new community and leisure facility is at the heart of plans to regenerate and revitalise Ashington town centre.

“The new facility will act as a catalyst for further improvements to Ashington town centre and will provide high quality leisure activities and community based services for local people.”

The designs have been developed following extensive consultation with local people.

More than 2,000 people have provided feedback following a series of consultation events, and given their views on the types of community and leisure activities that they would like to see there.

Coun Neil Bradbury, Northumberland County Council’s executive member for customer relations and culture, said: “More than 300 people came along to see the plans at our open days last month and the public reaction was incredibly positive.

“People told us they were impressed with the proposed design for the new facility and are looking forward to having new amenities in Ashington.”

Subject to planning permission, being approved by planners at the county council, it is expected that building work on the new facility will start in spring 2013.

It is expected to open to the public in 2014.