Behind the scenes look at new centre

Sport and leisure services are set to be improved in the county with the opening of a new £21m state-of-the-art leisure centre.

And the News Post Leader was given a tour of the progress being made behind the scenes at the new Ashington Leisure Centre.

This town has got a steep tradition in sport and this facility can only help

Steve Harmison

The centre is on track to inspire the next generation of sports stars, with work well underway for the build, including two swimming pools, a top of the range spa, and a dedicated spin studio.

Sport England has selected Ashington as a regional centre of sporting excellence and has invested in the town’s new leisure centre project through a £1m investment, which has been added to Northumberland County Council’s £20m investment.

Cricket star Steve Harmison, who came to see the progress on the build, said: “This town has got a steep tradition in sport and this facility can only help.

“It is fantastic to see money being spent in Ashington.

“We haven’t had the best of time in this area with funding, or economy, with major companies closing, so this gives the community a bit of hope and something to strive for.

“They’ve seen people from Ashington on TV in sport doing well and now they have a facility where they can emulate that.”

The News Post Leader was given a tour of the build so far, where the spa facilities, swimming pools and the impressive gym and spin studios are now taking shape.

As well as traditional sporting past-times, there’s also a fun element, where local school children have helped to design a huge glass wall.

Sport England’s director of community sport, Mike Diaper, said: “Ashington was really important as it is our most rural county, and we want people from all over the area to benefit from this.

“It is really exciting to come and see this project getting ready to open.

“We are delighted we were able to work with the county council to add a small amount of investment.”

The centre is due to open in Autumn and it will be a regional centre of excellence for many sports and activities including cricket, swimming and gymnastics, providing world-class training facilities including cricket nets, a six-lane 25m swimming pool and a six-court sports hall.

n A video of the new build is online to view now at www.newspostleader.co.uk/video