Decision on new Hartlepool leisure centre 'biggest in generation'
Plans for new leisure provision in Hartlepool is ‘one of the biggest decisions in years’ and will impact the next ’50 years’, according to councillors.
Council leader Shane Moore has pledged his commitment to building a new leisure centre to replace the deteriorating Mill House complex, but he needs the support of fellow councillors to achieve his vision.
The Hartlepool Playing Pitch and Indoor Facility Strategy 2019-2024 notes Mill House Leisure Centre, built in 1972, is ‘starting to come to the end of its useful life span’ and will need to be replaced or refurbished.
Refurbishing Mill House would cost an estimated £1.3million, and building a new complex would be more likely to attract external funding, the report notes.
Plans to fund a feasibility study, an option appraisal and initial design works for a new leisure centre will go before the council finance and policy committee on July 22 for approval.
Coun Stephen Thomas said what happens next is an important step for the town, which will impact for years to come.
Speaking at the adult and community based services committee, he said: “To me this is one of the most important decisions that’s going to be made for the people of Hartlepool in the months and years ahead.
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“It’s a 50-year decision around which you’re going to have a lot of other provision.
He added: “It’s got to be grasped, it’s a one-off opportunity to get it right.”
A public consultation is expected to take place during August and September around a potential new leisure centre development and facilities people want to see.
Gemma Ptak, council assistant director for preventative and community based services, reassured Mill House is safe and able to accommodate the provision for the immediate future.
However she noted over the next five years investment will be needed, which will be key to attracting more people to take part in sport.
Other key issues raised in the strategy include maintaining sports hall provision and working with schools to increase community access to such sites, as well as providing new artificial grass pitches in the town.