New £21million Northumberland leisure centre due for approval in Morpeth, despite concerns over building

Plans for a £21million leisure centre and community hub in Morpeth are recommended for approval next week despite concerns.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Members of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee are advised to give the go-ahead to the new facility, which would be located on The Terrace site, Gas House Lane, at their meeting on Tuesday March 3.

Planners have concerns about the development, but have come to an ‘on-balance’ conclusion that ‘the benefits to Morpeth and Northumberland are considered to outweigh the impact’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On design, the planning officer’s report says that the building would ‘completely change the character of’ Gas House Lane, before concluding: ‘The scale of the building is inappropriate in a townscape setting, but it is accepted that this is dictated by the end use and that the architectural treatment of the building helps to mitigate and soften the overall impact.’

An artist’s impression of the new leisure centre and community services hub in Morpeth.An artist’s impression of the new leisure centre and community services hub in Morpeth.
An artist’s impression of the new leisure centre and community services hub in Morpeth.

The report adds: ‘The proposal clearly would miss the opportunity to address many of the existing issues in this part of Morpeth and deliver the significant wider public benefit that could be achieved.

‘However, on balance, the benefits that would be delivered from the proposal outweigh the impacts created by such a large building in such a sensitive location.’

The leisure provision is set to include a six-lane swimming pool with spectator gallery, a learner pool, spa facilities, a four-court sports hall, a new 100-station fitness suite, a dedicated spinning studio, large fitness studios, a café and soft play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The proposals also incorporate a new community services hub that would see the town’s library move back to its former home on Gas House Lane, a customer service centre and a new adult learning facility.

Parking would be located to the west of the building and a pedestrian boulevard would be incorporated to provide enhanced connectivity with Bridge Street.

Last October, just before the application was submitted, the council’s cabinet agreed to increase the budget for the project from £18million to £21million to cover the community services hub, flood mitigation work and some additional leisure facilities.

If approved, work would start this spring, with a projected completion date of October 2021.