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Extra funding earmarked for Morpeth Leisure Scheme

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Northumberland County Council’s Cabinet has earmarked an extra £3million funding to cover the additional cost of incorporating a community hub into the new Morpeth Leisure Centre.

The additional funding will be used for a new library, customer service centre and adult learning facility as well as flood prevention work.

While the funding was agreed at Cabinet a recommendation will now go to the Full Council in November, seeking final approval for the extra funds  which will increase the
scheme on The Terrace, Gas House Lane from £18m to £21m.

The leisure provision in the new facility is set to include a six-lane swimming pool with a spectator gallery, a learner pool, spa facilities, a four-court sports hall, a new 100 station fitness suite, a dedicated spinning studio, large fitness studios, a cafe area and soft play.  

Plans are in place to move the town’s library, which was relocated on Manchester Street after flooding caused costly damage to its former home on Gas House Lane, back to its former site creating a space, double the size of the existing library.

It is proposed that the Council’s Customer Service Centre, also currently situated on Manchester Street,  will relocate into the centre.

A new Adult Learning facility with classrooms for STEM learning and catering will also be incorporated into the centre.

While new flood defences are already in place around the town, as a precautionary measure, the new building will be elevated by one metre to minimise further any future flood risk.

A planning application for the complex is due to be submitted to the council in the coming weeks.

Councillor Richard Wearmouth, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “This is a very welcome scheme for Morpeth and makes complete sense.

“Manchester Street was supposed to be a short-term library solution many years ago so it is logical to relocate the library and other services to a brand new building. Not only will everything be under one roof, it will free the council from the expense of running another old building.”

Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, added: “It’s fantastic we’re investing in leisure services and this is definitely the way forward.

“We’ve seen elsewhere the benefits of co-locating services – this is about making sure the right services are in the right place. We know the positive knock-on effect this can have for residents who might not ordinarily use a leisure centre but are attracted by what’s on offer when using one of our other services.”

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