Demolition works on a North East leisure facility have begun after bulldozers were spotted knocking through walls and windows of the former sport venue. 

The first works on the site of the former West Denton swimming pool, library and customer service centre began on Tuesday (November 21), which is making way for a state-of-the-art £26m replacement. 

Demolition work had initially been meant to start back in January, before the council later said it would be pushed back to May.

There have been concerns about the plans for the new leisure centre, which are largely being funded through the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, due to the impact of inflation.

The estimated cost of the project has already risen by around £4m since the scheme was first approved and its target opening date was pushed back from summer 2024 to December next year.

The Northern Echo: Bulldozers at West Denton Swimming PoolBulldozers at West Denton Swimming Pool (Image: NEWCASTLE COUNCIL)

Newcastle City Council has insisted that the financial pressures surrounding the plans, which have been a concern for other major building works being delivered by local authorities across the country, will not derail the project.

The Northern Echo: The last picture of West Denton Swimming PoolThe last picture of West Denton Swimming Pool (Image: LDR)

The council has previously said it would seek up to £2m from Sport England to help cover the rising costs of the new centre, as well as spending more of its own money on the scheme.

The Northern Echo: A bulldozer ripping through the roof of West Denton Swimming PoolA bulldozer ripping through the roof of West Denton Swimming Pool (Image: NEWCASTLE COUNCIL)

Once built, the new facility will boast a 25m swimming pool with eight lanes, a 17m training pool, an aqua play pool, a sports hall, a fitness studio and gym, a library, community spaces, a soft play area, and a café.

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It's expected that after demolition, building work will be started and completed by December 2024.

Earlier this year, images were revealed of a final look inside the leisure venue before it is finally torn down.

Ahead of the bulldozers moving onto the site, which happened on Tuesday, photos Newcastle City Council shared pictures in August from inside the empty facility, which officially opened in 1970, showing it completely stripped back and with the pools drained.