Innovative sport and education complex is part of Consett regeneration

by Jak Phillips | 23 Oct 2015

Consett Leisure Centre, a new £44m (US$68 E61) complex which combines educational establishment, Consett Academy, with a new leisure centre – to be shared by students and the public – has opened in County Durham in the UK.

Financed by local government body Durham County Council, the two venues occupy a new single building – designed by Seymour Harris Architecture – and located in the heart of Consett on the town’s former football ground.

Although a shared building, the leisure centre and academy have their own distinct main entrances at either end, while internally they are separated by secure lockdown doors. Although the public and academy students and staff use the building concurrently, they are separated at all times.

“Significant expertise and effort has gone into the careful design and development of this new concept, ensuring a high quality and sustainable facility is developed to meet the needs of all those involved and local residents,” said Steve Howell, head of culture and sport at Durham County Council.

Consett Leisure Centre, replaces the neighbouring Belle Vue Leisure Centre and swimming pool. It will be managed by Leisureworks – the region’s trust for sport and the arts.

Facilities at the new centre include the largest swimming complex in County Durham with a 25m, six lane pool and a 20m x 8.5m pool, both with moveable floors; an interactive slide; and splash water features.

On the fitness side, facilities include a 600sq m (6,458sq ft) gym operated by Lifestyle Fitness on behalf of Leisureworks.

In addition to two consultation rooms and dedicated changing facilities, there are three exercise studios, which host a variety of classes including the new Good to Glow class from fitness personality Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

The centre also features three glass-backed squash courts, with a moveable wall for larger spaces as required, as well as an eight-court sports hall for badminton, football, gymnastics and other indoor sports. Outside facilities include a 4G pitch and a multi-use games area for netball, football, basketball and other sports. A sprint track for jump and sprint practice is due to open early next year.

Consett was the cradle of the British steel industry and one of the leading steel producers in the world in the 17th and 18th centuries, but lost the lead to the city of Sheffield in the 19th century.

The steelworks - although still profitable - were closed in 1980 for political reasons and following the closure, unemployment in the town reached 38 per cent. The last steel ingot from the Consett ironworks was made into a cross and is kept at St Mary's RC Church, Blackhill.

The Consett Leisure Centre is part of an ongoing process of regeneration for the town, which has still not recovered from losing its heavy industry.

Consett Leisure Centre, a new £44m (US$68 E61) complex which combines educational establishment, Consett Academy, with a new leisure centre – to be shared by students and the public – has opened in County Durham in the UK. Financed by local government body Durham County Council, the two venues occupy a new single building – designed by Seymour Harris Architecture – and located in the heart of Consett on the
Facilities at the new centre include the largest pool provision in County Durham
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