New sports faciltiies would replace Clairville Stadium

PLANS for an £18m sports hub in Middlesbrough will now be decided by Communities Minister Eric Pickles following an objection over the loss of playing fields.

If built, the Middlesbrough Sports Village at Prissick Base on Marton Road would include an athletics field and stadium, with a 400m track and spectator seating, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, a gym, artificial pitch and grass football pitches, changing rooms and a cafe.

However councillors at Middlesbrough Council’s planning committee yesterday (Monday, December 16) heard that Sport England had objected to the plans on the grounds of one playing pitch being lost, and that it had not withdrawn the objection despite discussions.

This means the matter must be referred to the Mr Pickles, who is the secretary of state for Communities and Local Government.

Councillors agreed to approve related plans for a much-needed second link road to the James Cook University Hospital off Ladgate Lane, and the creation of hundreds of extra parking spaces at the hospital site.

Earlier this year, the council announced it was closing the ageing Clairville Stadium sports site and the land was being sold for housing and commercial use. The initial £18m investment in the new sports village is part of the council's capital programme.

Peter Thorpe, design manager for Willmott Dixon, which has been appointed to build the new athletics facility, said: “The scheme responds to a leisure needs assessment of the entire borough.

“It is a significant investment in social and environmental benefits and the creation of jobs and promotion of health.”

He said he was working with the athletics club to make sure that the scheme was cost effective.

Prissick is already home to the Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit and the Prissick Skate Plaza. The masterplan for the sports hub also includes developing about 360 homes on the former Prissick depot, Tennis World and the former school sites.

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