A SPORTS complex which forms part of a multi-million pound regeneration plan in a north Durham town is now open for business.

Consett Leisure Centre has been developed on the Belle Vue site, just off Medomsley Road in the former steel town.

The state-of-the-art facility is attached to the new Consett Academy building, due to open in September, as part of a £44 million scheme on the site of the former Civic Centre.

The leisure centre has two swimming pools, with adjustable floors, a slide and splash water features.

It also includes a fully-equipped Lifestyle Fitness gym, three exercise studios, three glass-backed squash courts and an eight-court sports hall for badminton, football and other indoor sports, as well as a cafe.

Tom McNamee, 20, from Shotley Bridge, who plays football for Darlington Football Club, said: “The equipment is more modern and is obviously new. It is better for people and is an improvement for the community and for the people who are using it.

“Everything is here that you would need in terms of fitness from professional athletes down to people who just want to keep fit.”

Facilities outside include a 4G pitch and a multi-use games area for netball, football, basketball and other sports.

An outdoor running track will open at a later date.

The existing Belle Vue Leisure Centre and Belle Vue Swim Centre are now closed and due to be demolished and the land will be turned into playing fields.

The sport building will be shared with the new school but plans have been put in place to make sure there is no risk to the security of the students.

Jackie McConnell, acting chief executive of Leisureworks, said: “It has all been carefully thought through and the access of children to the leisure centre will be carefully controlled.

“We have been planning this for over ten years and it is really exciting to see plans that were just pieces of paper come to reality.

“The customers are coming from two fifty year old buildings that were at the end of their life and they are coming to this lovely modern new building with lots of glass and light.

“We have now got fantastic facilities here in Consett now and there are loads of opportunities for people to come and get more active, more often.”

Details of timetables and opening hours are available at www.leisureworks.net or by calling 01207 218151.