WORK has started on a £765,000 scheme to improve sports centres in Bedale.

The project, which has been described as a 'wonderful asset' by local councillors, will see an all-weather pitch built and the fitness studio at the leisure centre extended.

A new health and education centre will be created at Bedale High School, where the changing rooms for the sports hall will also be improved.

The project, which brings together Hambleton District Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the school, was awarded £596,000 from the Big Lottery Fund in July last year as part of £2.7m handed to schools in the region.

The floodlit all-weather pitch will be ready for use this month.

It will be suitable for five-a-side football, hockey, netball and tennis and will be used by the school and the public. The leisure centre will manage public bookings.

Hambleton District Council chairman June Imeson said: "This exciting scheme unites a number of organisations into one aim - to improve educational and sporting facilities for Bedale and the surrounding villages for people of all ages.

"It is an exciting time for Bedale. We are creating a wonderful asset for the school and the community to share."