Should leisure centre stay put?

ALTERNATIVE proposals for sport and leisure facilities in Ashington have been unveiled for residents to see.

The Ashington Leisure Partnership Board have had plans drawn up that details redevelopment of the current site on Institute Road at a cost of around £10 million.

The new option comes as Northumberland County Council launch a public consultation on leisure and community facilities in the town after two other sites were shortlisted as potential locations for a new centre.

Currently the public are being asked to give feedback on the idea of one leisure and community facility at the former Asda site on Lintonville Terrace or on the former hospital site in the town.

But trustees of the Ashington Leisure Board believe their suggestion of a redevelopment of the site of the current Leisure Centre is a viable option, costing half of the proposed budget for the new facility.

The alternative proposals would mean a complete rebuild and remodel of the current site, bringing it up to date in terms of facilities but also modernising the boiler plants which heat the centre.

Chairman of the Trustees Brian Storey said: “We think that by demolishing the existing facilities we can rebuild with a new pool and changing rooms.

“We can reorganise the dry changing rooms, be able to create a reception area and cafe and make access to the indoor bowls and sports hall.”

The board of trustees believes this project would cost around £10million and although the county’s preferred option is to have a hub of community and leisure facilities under one roof in the town centre, a redeveloped leisure facility on it’s current site would be beneficial to everyone and money could be spent on a facility providing community and civic elements could be built elsewhere in the town.

The board have put plans to the County Council, and have display boards in the reception area of Ashington Leisure Centre for visitors to see.

Mr Storey said: “We have had a good reaction from the people who use the site which we expected because this place has a real loyal user base.

“It is well regarded by the people that use it, but we need to get the message out there to people who don’t use it as much that this is another option for Ashington.”

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “We are carrying out a widespread public consultation on the sites and the services we are considering for the proposed new Ashington leisure centre. All views are welcome as part of this consultation, which runs until 27 January.

“People can find out more information about the consultation and give their views via the council website - http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/Default.aspx?page=11437 Information is also available in libraries and council buildings.”