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Business & Economy

£21 million leisure development in Morpeth takes major step forward

Plans to bring a multi-million pound leisure scheme to Morpeth have been given the go ahead following a virtual planning committee meeting.

Designed by GT3 architects, the £21 million scheme is funded by Northumberland County Council and will deliver a new leisure centre and community hub to the market town.

The site is located on the edge of the town centre conservation area and sits beside the River Wansbeck, acting as a bookend to the high street.

The centre will include a six-lane swimming pool with spectator gallery, spa facilities, a four-court sports hall, a 100 station fitness suite, dedicated spin studio, fitness studios, a café area and soft play.

It will also house the new library and an adult learning facility with classrooms for STEM learning and catering.

Paul Reed, associate director at GT3 Architects, said: “We’re thrilled to achieve planning consent, particularly through a virtual committee meeting as social distancing has caused a real stumbling block for a lot of projects.

“We worked closely with Advance Northumberland – the development arm of Northumberland County Council responsible for regeneration – and Henry Riley to ensure the design responded to its surroundings.

“We wanted the scheme to feel like an extension of the town centre, so we included small details such as a view from the glazed pool hall directly down the high street.

“We also included plenty of communal, barrier free space within the wider design to create a destination area. We want to bring people from the centre towards the riverside setting but also give them a reason to stay.”

Councillor Cath Homer, cabinet member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism at Northumberland Council, added: “The design plans put forward by GT3 Architects for the new leisure scheme are ambitious and forward-looking so I’m delighted that they have secured planning permission.

“The new centre will be a real asset for the town and a wonderful place, with great facilities, for residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.”

The project is due to start on site this Autumn and is expected to complete by Spring 2022.