Gateshead Leisure Centre reopening date confirmed in 'enormous relief' for town

The closed Gateshead Leisure Centre.
The closed Gateshead Leisure Centre. -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Gateshead Leisure Centre will reopen in June, it has been confirmed. The group behind efforts to breathe new life into the beloved sports and leisure facility, which was shut down by Gateshead Council last year, have announced the hotly-anticipated date when its doors will open once again.

The centre was mothballed in July 2023 amid controversial council budget cuts that sparked a furious backlash from locals who had campaigned for the popular venue to be saved.

But, after 18 months of work, plans to hand the asset over to community organisation Gateshead Active have been agreed. The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands that Gateshead Active expect to take control of the building, on Prince Consort Road, on May 31 and stage a grand reopening on Friday, June 14.

Gateshead Active director and former councillor Robert Waugh said: “To have finally got our plans approved by the council for the handover of the building is an enormous relief for us and for the community. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back into the building.

“It will be 11 months of the leisure centre being closed by the time we open and it has been a big miss. We hope that people will see a big change in culture here and we really want to give people the best service possible.”

Mr Waugh said Gateshead Active would have to carry out some building work and staff training in the two weeks after getting the keys to the leisure centre, while a soft launch is pencilled in to start on June 10 where local groups will be invited to test out the facilities before the full reopening. The centre’s gym, pool, soft play, and climbing wall are all due to be open for June 14, while there are also hopes that a new virtual reality escape room could also be ready in time.

Following a resolution to a licensing dispute earlier this month, the nearby Corporation Club is expected to relocate into a section of the leisure centre and open in either late June or early July. This month has also seen Gateshead Active secure a vital £150,000 boost from social investment organisation Keyfund to ensure the reopening plans can go ahead.

Membership packages for the centre are expected to go on sale either this week or next.

The Save Leisure Gateshead campaign, which called with ChronicleLive and local MPs for Gateshead Leisure Centre to be protected for future generations, said it hoped that the facility would now become a “thriving” community hub once again.

Campaigner Layla Barclay told the LDRS: “We have been watching Gateshead Active and the council very closely over the last year to 18 months and we are really delighted that it has come to this point where Gateshead Active will get the keys and there is an end in sight. Hopefully in the near future we will see the leisure centre open again.

“It has been such a miss from so many different angles. So many people have stopped exercising, it has had huge mental health impacts, it has been a massive loss to the community. So we are really hoping that once it opens it will be sustainable – that people will start going and spending time there again.”

News of the centre's reopening came as Gateshead Council found itself embroiled in a new row over one of its centres, after Gateshead FC were blocked from the National League play-offs due to uncertainty surrounding the future of the International Stadium.