'Significant milestone' as Hartlepool's new leisure centre is approved

Council-led plans for a “flagship” leisure centre development in Hartlepool have been approved.

The Highlight, the town’s proposed new leisure development at The Waterfront, is now expected to be completed by November 2024.

The multi-million pound premises, adjacent to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, will include an eight-lane main pool, a four-lane learner pool with movable floor and a leisure pool including a race slide and water play features.

Other features include a gym and fitness studios, a café, active and soft play areas, party rooms, an NHS consultation suite and more.

The leisure centre is expected to be completed by November 2024.

Two objections were received from residents living nearby, raising concerns about noise, traffic and the impact on an existing gym business.

Elsewhere, two letters of support were received stating the development would be a “fantastic addition to the town”, making good use of the space and encouraging residents to become involved in sport.

Councillors rubberstamped a previous recommendation by planning officers to approve the application.

Councillor Brenda Harrison added: “I think that this looks to be potentially a really good facility, not just for what the building is there for but for other things as well.

An artistic impression of how the new leisure centre will look.

“I would totally agree that it needs to be used as much as possible and we need to get some kind of feed back from it and remuneration.”

Following debate, the plans won unanimous support from the council’s planning committee.

Funding plans for the facility on the former Jackson’s Landing site, which will replace the town’s ageing Mill House Leisure Centre, were approved in 2020.

Councillor Shane Moore, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, speaking after the meeting, welcomed the planning decision.

Cllr Moore said: “I am delighted that the planning committee has granted planning permission for Highlight and the decision is a significant milestone in our ambitious regeneration plans for the town.

“Funding for the scheme has been in place for some time. But a lot of detailed and painstaking behind-the-scenes work has been required to get us to this point.

“This decision means we are now able to really push on with our plans, the building is going to look amazing and it will house a fantastic range of facilities for people of all ages.”

Now planning permission has been granted, the process of appointing a main contractor to build Highlight will begin.