New Hartlepool leisure centre and swimming pool
Council bosses are looking to either refurbish or replace Mill House Leisure Centre as part of a bid to improve sport and leisure facilities in the town.
Plans to either carry out a major remodelling of the 1970s building or develop an entirely new centre are set out in a strategy drawn up for Hartlepool Borough council.
The team behind the plans say a new development, which could include an eight-lane pool and well-being health suite, on land adjacent to Mill House would be most likely to attract external funding.
That option would see Mill House demolished once the new centre was complete.
The proposals are set out in a “playing pitch and indoor facilities strategy 2019-2024” drawn up with guidance from Sport England.
The final strategy and action plan was completed by Neil Allen Associates.
One of the main issues raised by the strategy was the need to continue feasibility work to improve Hartlepool’s swimming facilities and offer ‘a specific recommendation to replace or refurbish Mill House Leisure Centre’.
Mill House was built in 1972 and council bosses said although it has undergone some refurbishment, ‘continued investment is needed to maintain operation’.
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The strategy also looks at options to develop a new pool by Brierton Sports Centre, alongside an option to develop a new swimming facility within Middleton Grange.
However the study states the development of the Middleton Grange option ‘remains unclear’ and looks ‘increasingly unlikely’.
A report from Gemma Ptak, council assistant director for preventative and community based services, states work is being developed for a public consultation into the leisure offer and any potential new centre.
Other key issues raised include maintaining sports halls, working with schools to increase community access, and new artificial grass pitches.
It also recommends developing tennis courts with floodlights at Brierton, and ensuring squash facilities are protected or re-provided as part of any future plans.
It also said indoor and outdoor bowls facilities are ‘important sites’ for Hartlepool and should be retained, alongside protecting sites for other sports and aiming to grow participation in sports.
No funds have been identified to carry out the work yet and investment strategies will be developed as part of any feasibility work conducted.