REACTION: Leisure complex plans unveiled for Morpeth

Town councillors have welcomed initial proposals for a new leisure complex in Morpeth.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 5:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 3:18 pm
The Riverside site in Morpeth which is to house a new leisure centre and hotel/restaurant.

It was revealed today that a brand-new leisure centre is to be built in the heart of Morpeth alongside a hotel and restaurant. The complex would also house a new library and customer services centre with a ‘high-quality hotel and restaurant completing the prestige riverside site’ on Gas House Lane.

And the proposals have been welcomed by the town’s county councillors, albeit with some reservations and provisos.

Coun Ian Lindley, independent ward member for Morpeth Stobhill, said: “I am delighted that the council has officially confirmed the new leisure and cultural centre for Morpeth – it’s something I have been working and negotiating for, for a long time. As Morpeth residents, we have rightly been demanding facilities befitting our county-town status and have felt left behind as other areas were upgraded.

“Now with the council leader’s commitment that his administration will build this state-of-the-art leisure and cultural centre in the heart of Morpeth, I urge all residents to get involved in the consultation which will now follow and tell the council what facilities they would like to be considered for inclusion.

“I’m also very pleased that the proposal includes a hotel and restaurant, increasing Morpeth’s great appeal and our status as Gateway to Northumberland.”

Coun David Bawn, the Conservative who represents Morpeth North, said: “It is heartening that the administration has now shelved its ill-advised plans to sell off this strategic site, although it appears this is due to lack of commercial interest rather than prioritising the needs of the town.

“It is rather odd that an FOI (Freedom of Information) request to the council by local Conservatives just last week came back that the council had no firm plans for a leisure centre and now we have this announcement.

“However, this is a U-turn by the administration that I welcome. The extension of leisure provision in the town is an ambition I fully support and I await more detailed plans with interest.”