PLANS have been presented for a "world-class" sports centre is to be built on the former steelworks site in Consett.

Project Genesis has applied to Derwentside District Council for planning permission to create the £20m facility.

It will form the centrepiece of the regeneration effort for the former steelworks site, occupying a prominent 45-acre site on the main plateau.

The centre will be just a few minutes walk from the town centre, near a new restaurant and close to residential developments at Park Road and Templetown.

Facilities will include a sports hall, 25-metre swimming pool, four badminton courts, four indoor tennis courts, four outdoor tennis courts, 15 outdoor football pitches and a gym.

The complex will include a ground for Consett Football Club, to replace the current Belle Vue Stadium.

Morris Muter, managing director of Project Genesis, said: "This is a project that will provide a new focus for the people of Consett, providing facilities for everyone in Derwentside and helping to bring more people into the town.

"By placing the sports centre at the centre of the site, we're making it accessible and enjoyable for the entire community.

"I'm particularly proud of the fact that we have worked closely with professional sporting bodies, such as the Lawn Tennis Association, to ensure that the facilities meet the latest design and competition standards."

The Project Genesis team has been in talks with Derwentside council on the plan and is confident it will be granted planning permission.

Council leader Councillor Alex Watson said: "This facility is all about bringing something world-class to Consett that can be enjoyed on a local level.

"There has been a great deal of consultation to identify what local people wanted, and the fact that it will be right in the centre of the Project Genesis site is representative of our commitment to reintegrate the former steelworks into the town."

The application comes just weeks before work is to beging on a restaurant on the roundabout next to Morrison's.

Project Genesis has also applied for permission to build 60 houses on land north-east of Fell View in The Grove, Consett.