GT3 Architects designed the scheme. Credit: Hartlepool Council

Start for Highlight in Hartlepool

Work has officially begun on the flagship leisure scheme at the Waterfront, with Wates Construction expecting to complete the £34m project in 2025.

The start on site comes weeks after a full council meeting of Hartlepool’s local authority, which approved a revised funding strategy after costs climbed from a pre-Covid £25.6m to around £34m.

A range of preparatory site works have started ahead of the start of groundworks, which will include the construction of the new building’s foundations, in January.

Highlight, which is scheduled to open at The Waterfront towards the end of 2025, will replace the town’s existing Mill House Leisure Centre which has been in operation since 1972.

GT3 Architects has designed the scheme. The mix of facilities within the new leisure centre will include:

  • A 25m 8-lane main pool
  • A 25m 4-lane learner pool with movable floor
  • A leisure pool including race slide and water play features, spectator seating
  • A 100-station gym
  • Two inter-connected fitness studios
  • An indoor cycling/”spinning” studio
  • Active and soft play areas
  • A party room
  • A café
  • An NHS consultation suite
  • External ground and first-floor terraces.

Main contractor Wates has appointed a number of local sub-contractors for the project. Significant external funding is being provided from the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Sport England.

Cllr Mike Young said Highlight will be ‘truly eye-catching’. Credit: Dave Charnley Photography

Cllr Mike Young, leader of the council, said: “It is so exciting to be in the position where we have now started work on Highlight, the biggest single investment to be made in Hartlepool for decades. It further demonstrates how we are delivering on our ambitious regeneration plans for the borough.

“A lot of hard work has been required over a lengthy period of time to reach this point, but the Council has never wavered in its determination to proceed with this scheme and make it happen.

“It is going to be a truly eye-catching building with a range of fantastic facilities. There will be a real focus on enabling families to lead fun, active and healthy lives – providing so many benefits for residents of Hartlepool, whilst also attracting visitors from further afield.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, said: “It’s great to see work starting on this development which will make a real difference to the town’s health and wellbeing.

“We want to ensure Hartlepool is a fantastic place to live, work and invest and are working hard to support key projects such as Highlight, the transformation of Hartlepool railway station and plans to improve the town centre.”

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