At the last Cabinet meeting I was pleased to agree the heads of terms with the preferred developer for the Seaton Carew Masterplan.
The Esh Group was selected as the preferred developer last year for three council-owned sites in Seaton and a privately owned site.
The agreement means that housing will be built on both the site at Coronation Drive to finish off the Warrior Park development as well as the site behind Elizabeth Way where the sports hall and youth centre currently sit.
The former fairground site on Seaton front will also be brought back into use and the Longscar building, which is currently in private ownership, will be purchased and redeveloped.
The will generate around £7million for the council and the cabinet has consistently agreed that this money will also be put into the redevelopment of Seaton Carew.
This now gives us a very exciting opportunity to transform The Front at Seaton and give it a much needed boost and uplift.
Esh Group has come up with a set of proposals for the Front which include landscaping, some play and leisure facilities, public space and a bit of commercial development.
Developers have been engaged in detailed consultation with residents and businesses in Seaton as they try to come up with a scheme that befits the area.
The details of these proposals may alter as the development progresses but I’m sure most people will be glad to see the back of the Longscar building which has been an eyesore for many years.
If the Longscar building cannot be acquired by agreement with the current owners then it will be subject to a compulsory purchase order and the CPO process is already well under way.
What has been apparent from all of the public consultation is the desire for better community facilities in Seaton.
This development means the end for the sports hall and youth club. The library and community centre buildings are also coming to the end of their useful lives.
The football pitches down there are crying out for better changing facilities. There is a lot that can be done with the money that will be generated from this partnership with the Esh Group and they are extremely receptive to the wishes of the community so the future looks extremely positive for Seaton Carew.
If you have been to Seaton recently, you cannot fail to have missed the new Sports Domes development on the site of the old Mayfair building.
I’ve been round them a few times now and I’m blown away by just how great they are every time. I’ve even had the pleasure of welcoming colleagues from a couple of neighbouring local authorities recently who have expressed an interest in the Domes and wanted to find out more.
I reckon quite a few councils will be giving serious consideration as to how they run their sports and leisure facilities in the future given the current economic climate and the domes are a relatively versatile, green and cost effective solution.
The Sports Domes at Seaton are a private development however but the facilities therein are second to none that I have seen.
The smaller dome contains a golf complex with a driving range, pitch and putt, a crazy golf course and four golf simulators which allow people to play any course in the world.
The larger dome houses six 5-a-side football pitches which can be easily turned into two nine-a-side pitches or a full size pitch. They are 3G pitches and the FA is saying that they are probably the best around. It is exactly the same surface that Chelsea uses to train on but twice as big.
In the former Mayfair building itself, there is now a state of the art gym (which I haven’t tried out), a sports bar and a function suite.
There are also loads of other little surprises in there like hair and beauty rooms, a massage room, dance studio, kids interactive room, a sensory room and more. They are currently turning the basement into a sauna and steam room with extra changing facilities for the football dome.
There are plans to install a play park outside and even talk of putting up another dome which could possibly contain and I’ll only whisper this, an ice rink.
The Sports Domes are a tremendously exciting development and I’m certain will attract people from all over the region. I would urge everyone to go and have a look around.
As I’ve mentioned, there is more to come and it will provide Seaton with facilities that will be the envy of others.
This is only the start of things to come and as long as the council stays on track, Seaton Carew can look forward to at last getting the money spent on it that it so richly deserves and has been yearning for, for as long as I can remember.