Durham County Council invests £44 million in leisure and education scheme

The second phase of Durham County Council’s £44 million investment in leisure and education facilities has completed with the opening of the new Consett Academy campus. The facility joins the new Consett Leisure Centre, which launched at the site this summer.

Located in the heart of Consett on the site of the town’s former football ground, the two venues occupy a new single building designed by Seymour Harris Architecture, providing a new shared resource for the local community.

As a truly shared building, the leisure centre and academy have their own distinct main entrances at either end of the building, while internally they are separated by secure lockdown doors. Sharing and flexibility of use were key parameters for the project and fundamental drivers for the layout and security lines. While the public and academy students and staff use the building concurrently, they are separated at all times.

Consett Leisure Centre, which replaces the neighbouring Belle Vue Leisure Centre and swimming pool, is an excellent example of partnership working to provide facilities for the community.

Steve Howell, head of culture and sport at Durham County Council, said:

“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.”

Facilities at the new centre include the largest pool provision in County Durham with a 25m, six lane pool and a 20m by 8.5m pool, both with moveable floors; an interactive slide; splash water features as well as group and family changing facilities. Internal glazing allows families and friends to watch activities from the new café area.

Other facilities include a 600sq m Lifestyle Fitness gym offering Technogym CV stations, Star Trac indoor cycling bikes and resistance equipment and freights from Gym80, as well as a functional training rig from Queenax, which is now part of the Precor product portfolio.

As well as 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 national fitness presenter Katie Bulmer-Cooke. Flexible and practical, the studios can be opened up to create one large space.

The centre also features three glass-backed squash courts, also featuring 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.

Cllr Maria Plews, cabinet member for leisure, libraries and lifelong learning at Durham County Council, said:

“This state-of-the-art building is providing fantastic leisure and educational facilities to the people of Consett. It is a wonderful resource for the town, which will open up many opportunities for both students and the wider community to learn and be active.”

Jackie McConnell, Acting Chief Executive of Leisureworks – Derwentside’s Trust for Sport & the Arts said:

“Leisureworks is proud to manage this fantastic facility and we are committed to working with the key funders Durham County Council and other partners to continue to provide a high quality health and fitness experience unlike anything else in the area. Consett Leisure Centre is a great new resource for the whole community and we hope it will encourage more people to be more active, more often.”

As part of the project additional improvement works have taken place, including the relocation of Consett Amateur Football Club to a new purpose-built ground, investment in facilities at Consett Rugby Football Club and work to protect and enhance the town’s war memorial.