Huge investment in Hartlepool leisure facilities proposed

Published Friday, 24th January 2020

Councillors are being asked to agree to the replacement of Hartlepool's ageing Mill House Leisure Centre as part of a huge multi-million pound investment in the town's leisure facilities.

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee will next week (Thursday January 30th) consider proposals for a new flagship leisure development on the Waterfront site within the town’s marina.

Councillors will also be asked to give the go-ahead for a wider package of improvements that will see significant additional investment in Brierton Sports Centre, Headland Sports Hall, Grayfields Recreation Ground and Pavilion and the Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club.

If the schemes are approved, the bulk of the funding for the schemes will come from the Council’s recently-approved Capital Investment Programme which includes significant sums of money provided by the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA).

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Finance and Policy Committee, said: “These proposed schemes represent one of the biggest investments in the town in recent times and, if approved, their impact on the lives of local people will be profound.

“They will provide us with modern, high-quality leisure venues and facilities fit for the 21st century that will bring with them a range of health, social, environmental and economic benefits.

“Significantly, these proposals are not mere pipe dreams – the funding is already in place. Residents will start to see improvements to facilities as early as next year and and if councillors give their approval we are confident that we can have the new Waterfront development open in 2024.

“A lot of hard work has been required to get to this point, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their efforts to date. It is also important to acknowledge the support of the TVCA, without which we might not be in this position.”

The proposals were developed following an eight-week period of public consultation which took place last year.

The new Waterfront leisure development is one of four options put forward for the replacement of Mill House Leisure Centre and the intention is to have a recreational attraction that will draw in both local visitors and tourists. Other proposed facilities include three swimming pools - one of 25 metres with eight lanes, another of 20 metres with four lanes and a recreation pool with flumes, a health suite, fitness studios, a gym, a family play facility, a café/refreshments area and function rooms.

The development will sit alongside other improvements to the wider Waterfront site, including the creation of a new events space which will enable the Council to build on the success of the Hartlepool Waterfront Festival.

The other proposals to be considered by the Finance and Policy Committee which will be subject to further public consultation and development, include:

Brierton Sports Centre

The centre would be re-branded as Brierton Sports Complex with a focus on outdoor facilities, including improvements to the tennis courts and the installation of floodlighting. Around two acres of surplus land would be sold for development, with the proceeds being used to fund some of the re-development costs.

Headland Sports Hall

It is proposed to sub-divide the existing sports hall to increase community use and enable the facility to break-even or achieve an operating profit

Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club

The estimated cost of building a new stand-alone facility means it is not a viable option, so it is proposed to carry out improvements to the existing building which opened in 1972, and agree a new lease with the Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Association

Grayfields Recreation Ground and Pavilion

It is proposed to improve the site and reinstate the artificial grass pitch before advertising the opportunity for a community asset transfer to an external organisation.