Improving leisure facilities backed by £2m of funding

Scott Dickinson at the site of the former Druridge Bay Middle School in Hadston.
Scott Dickinson at the site of the former Druridge Bay Middle School in Hadston.

Communities in the Druridge Bay area look set to benefit from capital spending in the budget with the provision of new leisure facilities.

There is nearly £2million allocated in 2016/17 for the Druridge Bay Community Sport and Leisure Facility.

It was initially thought that the pledged cash would be used to create a facility on the vacant plot in Hadston, which was home to Druridge Bay Middle School, but it now appears that a large part will focus around improvements to the existing community centre.

Labour councillor for the area, Scott Dickinson, said: “We have been working hard with Active Leisure and the public to create a facility that will benefit all.

“This is about adapting an existing community centre, refurbishing and adding to it in order to provide facilities that meet the demands of those in the Druridge Bay communities.

“Currently it costs some £7 to get to the nearest gym facility on public transport with additional monthly payments to then use the facility.

“This is an exciting time for the Druridge Bay area – we can redevelop an existing community facility, making it sustainable by doing what it currently does with the addition of facilities that would enhance what is already there.

“Plans coming forward will be additions to the existing centre, changing its layout, creating fresh reception areas with gym and multi-purpose facilities combined with the refurbishment of the existing sports hall.

“Part of the old school site will also be developed based on the plans. Working with young people, a community-friendly skate-park has been suggested.

“This will be sensitively created using professionals in that field who will plan a design to prevent noise and light disturbing the community, but ensure that the facilities are fully integrated and in a sensible location in the village.

“This too will be surrounded by a more usable community space.”

Following the introduction of free parking in many towns and parishes this year, Labour’s budget proposals also include free parking across the county’s country parks, such as Druridge Bay.

A Labour spokesman said: “We’re keen to make it easier and cheaper for people to enjoy Northumberland’s natural beauty spots and what the county has to offer.”