A full meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council this evening on Thursday 28th September, gave the go-ahead to a new funding package.

This follows an increase in the cost of the scheme, primarily due to a range of factors outside the Council’s control. These include the impact of the Covid pandemic on the construction industry, the impact of inflation on the costs of materials and increasing energy costs.

Councillor Mike Young, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that councillors have supported the revised funding strategy which means that the residents of Hartlepool will now get the new leisure centre they deserve.

“It will be a fantastic development that will be an attraction in its own right and also complement other local visitor destinations, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool, the Museum of Hartlepool and Hartlepool Marina.

“Although the additional investment is significant, Highlight will have major long-term benefits for Hartlepool and demonstrates the Council’s commitment to regenerating the town, raising aspirations and supporting improved health outcomes for local people.”

The original £25.65m budget for Highlight was developed in 2019/20, which allowed the project to progress through detailed design and obtain planning permission. Following three years of design, the projected cost of the facility is now estimated to be in the region of £34.65m.

The revised funding strategy comprises a mix of additional grant from Sport England, money released following a review of the Council’s Capital Programme, capital contingency funds held by the authority and borrowing.

Councillor Young added: “It is important to note that the majority of funding for this scheme has been secured externally at no cost to Hartlepool residents, so the facility still represents good value for money for Hartlepool.”

Highlight, designed by GT3 Architects and expected to open its doors in 2025, will replace the town’s ageing Mill House Leisure Centre which opened in 1972. Its facility mix will meet the demand for existing and future provision, safeguarding leisure facilities in Hartlepool. Mill House Leisure Centre will remain in operation until Highlight opens.

For more info please flow the link https://yoursay.hartlepool.gov.uk/waterfront-highlight-leisure-centre