Image demonstrating Plans approved for Berwick’s new leisure centre

Plans approved for Berwick’s new leisure centre

Berwick’s new state of the art leisure centre is a step closer to reality after it was granted planning permission today (Tuesday 3 September). 

The £20 million facility, funded by Northumberland County Council,  will be built on the site of the current Swan Centre in Tweedmouth and will be run by Active Northumberland, the charitable trust that manages leisure services across the county.

At today’s strategic planning committee councillors approved the planning application for the centre giving the green light to appoint contractors and start the development.

Work is due to start on site in November,  and will be carried out in phases to ensure that the existing Swan Centre continues to operate at all times until new facilities open to replace them.  Phase 1, which includes the new swimming pool and fitness suite is due to open in April 2021. The full new building is expected to be open in summer 2022. 

Designed by GT3 Architects, the centre will feature a five-lane, 25m swimming pool, a teaching pool and leisure pool and spa facilities. There will be a sports hall, indoor bowls, fitness studios, cafe and a sensory room. Outside there will be a 3G full-size playing pitch, play park and trim trail and parking for 175 cars.

Northumberland County Councillor Cath Homer, Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts, Leisure and Tourism, said: 

“ I am thrilled that this planning application has been approved. It now means we are able to move forward with the development and soon offer more great opportunities for people living in the Berwick area to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

“Not only will it be a fantastic facility for the local community but we want it to be a tourist destination too attracting visitors from other parts of Northumberland, the Borders, South
Scotland and beyond.” added Councillor Homer.

Earlier in the year, residents were consulted on the exciting new plans at  exhibitions held in the town, which included a virtual reality video, showcasing what the centre would look like.

During the consultation there was significant support for the retention of an indoor bowls facility, and this has been incorporated into the new centre.

The current Swan Centre has millions of pounds worth of backlog maintenance issues,  and is no longer fit for its intended purpose.

Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said:

“ Like the Swan Centre, this fabulous new facility will serve the Berwick community for generations to come, it will be iconic, an asset for the town and a wonderful place for residents and visitors to enjoy great experiences. Active Northumberland have a new vision and strategy aimed at transforming leisure services, with an increased focus on participation for all and improving health and wellbeing. This modern new facility will really help us achieve our new vision for leisure.”

Berwick's three County Councillors, Cllrs Georgina Hill, Gregah Roughead and Catherine Seymour have also welcomed the news that work on the new leisure centre will commence this year.
Cllr Gregah Roughead, member for Berwick West with Ord, on behalf of the local councillors, said:
We are delighted at the rapid progress that has been made in designing and developing the new centre. It was good to see our local community get involved and share their ideas with us through drop in session events held across Berwick. We are glad that the county council has listened closely to us and the community too, such as coming to a decision for the retention of the indoor bowls facility. 
“ The approval of the planning application for the new £20m leisure centre at Tweedmouth is fantastic news for the local community. Berwick is now getting the investment it deserves.”

Advance Northumberland, a new regeneration company established by Northumberland County Council is responsible for delivering the project. They appointed a design team that includes lead consultant Henry Riley LLP and GT3 Architects.
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