Plans afoot to build replacement leisure centre on same site

The Swan Centre sports centre in Berwick.
The Swan Centre sports centre in Berwick.

A redevelopment of the current site has been identified as the preferred option for Berwick’s new leisure centre.

Active Northumberland favours building the planned £19m complex on the southern portion of the Swan Centre site in Tweedmouth.

Project manager Damon Barnaby said: “The existing site is now the preferred option. It’s a big site which is in our ownership, and it enables us to deliver a new leisure centre in the most effective timescale.”

The initial plans were presented at public drop-in sessions earlier this week.

They include a six-lane, 25m swimming pool capable of staging competitions, a training pool and wet play facility, 100-station gym, two fitness studios, spinning studio, ten-pin bowling alley, climbing facility, multi-level soft play area and cafe.

Active Northumberland maintains that it is more cost-effective to build a new facility rather than refurbish the existing one.

“The running costs of the Swan Centre are 60% higher than the average for similar sites in Northumberland,” revealed Mr Barnaby.

Several alternative sites in Berwick were looked at, but at this stage they appear to have been ruled out.

A site next to Shielfield Park was too small, land at Roberts Lodge and Newfields was judged to be too far out of town and sites at Berwick Academy and Berwick Middle School were discounted due to the difficulties involved in acquiring school playing fields.

Three options have been presented for the remodelling of the Swan Centre site, and Active Northumberland believes a development on the southernmost part of the site would work best.

The two other options are developing at the rear of the site, on the existing football pitch, close to homes in Dean Drive or building closer to the Homebase and Farmfoods shops.