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Have your say to help shape plans for new leisure facilities in Hartlepool

Plans for new leisure facilities in Hartlepool have taken a major step forward. 

Hartlepool Borough Council's Finance and Policy Committee has agreed to fund a feasibility study, an option appraisal and initial design works and now residents are being urged to play a key role in that process by taking part in a public consultation which was launched today and will run over the summer. 

The Committee was told it is vital that preparations for new leisure facilities are accelerated, given the age and life expectancy of the town's existing Mill House Leisure Centre, which was built in 1972.  It also heard it is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the local population. 

The Committee agreed to cover the cost of the feasibility study, option appraisal and initial design work by reallocating £175,000 from the Council's planned capital maintenance budget. 

The public consultation will seek to identify the mix of leisure facilities required across the town to encourage more people to take part in sport and leisure activities and will also aim to identify any barriers to participation. 

People can take part online now by clicking here.  Drop-in consultation sessions and focus groups are also in the process of being organised.  The consultation will run until 15 September. 

It's anticipated that the option appraisal, feasibility study and design works could be completed by March next year. 

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of the Council and Chair of the Finance and Policy Committee, said: "The condition of Mill House Leisure Centre is deteriorating and it will require a significant investment of around £1.3m over the next five years, so basically it has exceeded its lifespan and is no longer fit for purpose. 

"In agreeing to fund the feasibility study, option appraisal and design works, we have taken an important step towards the town getting the new, modern leisure facilities which I am committed to developing.

"The views of local people are vital to that process, so I hope as many people as possible will take part in the public consultation."

In her report to the Committee, Gemma Ptak, the Council's Assistant Director (Preventative and Community-Based Services), highlighted the major causes of illness and premature death in Hartlepool - including circulatory, respiratory and digestive diseases and cancer - and said there is strong evidence that physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of some of those diseases, as well as also improving mental health. 

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