A MULTI-MILLION pound family activity centre complete with swimming pool is set to transform a site.

The new Fish Tank family centre at Aycliffe Business Park, in Newton Aycliffe, will open to the public in November.

It has been privately financed by Newton Aycliffe homeowners, Penny and Paul Gordon. The operation will be run from a 56 square metre office alongside a coffee shop – designed to be baby friendly.

Mrs Gordon said: “It has long been our dream to build a centre in our home town to give our local families a high quality venue to come and enjoy all sorts of activities for their little ones.

“We believe in learning through play and getting our little ones active from an early age. On top of that, we want to create a coffee shop space for parent support groups to provide a support network for families.

"With research showing that new mothers are less likely to suffer from post natal depression if they can gain support from their peers, that’s another reason why we’re very proud of what we are doing.

“We hope by building this centre, we can support parents and give the opportunity for our children to experience and learn through a variety of fun packed activities, all provided under one roof in the heart of Newton Aycliffe.”

Members of the community will be able to enjoy swimming lessons in the pool, and the development will include two activity rooms to be hired out to baby, toddler and parent focused activity groups for a wide variety of activities they can pre-book.

Mr Gordon, the co-founder of The Fish Tank, said: “It was a monumental task to bring all the pieces together to enable us to secure the finance, but we’ve done it and are over the moon to start building.

“We are looking for activity providers to join us to ensure we have a diverse offering of classes available. We’re already in talks with several high profile businesses from baby swimming companies to parenting groups and learning through play classes.

“We’re planning to be able to offer a host of activities all carefully selected to give people the widest choice and best selection of classes under one roof.”

Finance was secured for the site through a grant aimed at rural development and backed by development finance through HSBC.

For more information, email enquiries@thefishtank.com or visit thefishtank.com