Work set to start on new £20million leisure centre for Northumberland town

A turf-cutting ceremony has taken place to officially mark the start of a £20million scheme to transform leisure provision in a Northumberland town.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 4:50 pm
A turf cutting ceremony to mark the start of work on Berwick's new leisure centre. Pictured, left to right, Dave Thompson, Regional Director Tolent, Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive Active Northumberland, Ken Dunbar Chief Executive Advance Northumberland, Councillor Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet member with responsibility for leisure, arts, tourism and culture.

The new leisure centre for Berwick, which is being funded by Northumberland County Council, will be built on the site of the current Swan Centre for Leisure in Tweedmouth.

Tolent Construction Limited has been appointed as the official contractor and the centre will be constructed in phases to ensure that the existing Swan Centre continues to operate at all times until new facilities open to replace them.

Work on Phase 1, which includes a new swimming pool and fitness suite will start on January 6 and is due to open in March 2021. The new centre is expected to be fully complete and open to the public in summer 2022.

Designed by GT3 Architects, it will feature a five-lane, 25m swimming pool, a teaching pool and leisure pool and spa facilities. There will be a sports hall, indoor bowls, fitness studios, cafe and a sensory room. Outside there will be a 3G full-size playing pitch, play park and trim trail and parking for 175 cars.

Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, said: “This significant investment will create outstanding new facilities for the town and surrounding communities and there is a real sense of anticipation as we mark the start of this work today.

“The current Swan Centre has millions of pounds worth of backlog maintenance issues and is no longer fit for its intended purpose. The landmark new centre will be a focal point not just for local residents but for visitors from further afield and will add to the area’s ever growing tourism offer.”

Coun Gregah Roughead, ward member for Berwick West with Ord added: “ It’s an exciting day and I am thrilled that spades are in the ground and work is starting on the development.

“The local community have had a real say in deciding the facilities within it and I am sure the new centre will be a real asset for the town for generations to come.”

Advance Northumberland is responsible for delivering the project.