New Hartlepool leisure centre bid - funding signed off to move forward with plans to replace Mill House
Plans for a new leisure centre in Hartlepool have taken a step forward after a study into the development was backed by councillors.
Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee approved reallocating £175,000 from the authority’s planned capital maintenance budget to fund a feasibility study, an option appraisal and initial design works.
Council officers noted the existing Mill House Leisure Centre, which was built in 1972, has a ‘limited life span’ and would require investment of around £1.3million over the next five years.
A public consultation is to be carried out over the summer to identify the mix of facilities required to encourage more people to participate in sport and leisure activities, and barriers to participation.
Council leader Shane Moore said: “It is a really important decision and an important facility moving forward. We can’t put this off any longer, so it’s right to start the ball rolling now, because it is going to take a bit of time.”
Councillors unanimously supported the move looking into a new leisure centre, noting the importance of the facilities in help combating obesity.
Coun Jim Lindridge said: “One of the most important factors we need to consider is the health and well-being of young children, adults and everybody. In year six we’ve got 23% of children classified as obese, I think that’s appalling.
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“This is the key to it as far as I’m concerned. We need to start looking after our children and taking responsibility for their fitness levels, I think this is really important.
“Whether it is this end of the town or Brierton, the key is getting the facilities up and running.”
Coun Paddy Brown raised the importance of the location of any new leisure centre being ‘equally accessible’ for everyone and ‘in the heart’ of the town.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher supported the point, adding it has to serve all the different groups of people in the town and facilities for the disabled need to be on offer.
Council officers said they will be bringing forward a report with preferred options later in the year which would be followed by a concept and outline business case.