New pool and gym in Thornaby plans take step forward as part of £23.9m 'transformation' efforts

An artist's impression of what the proposed new swimming pool and gym in Thornaby could look like.
-Credit: (Image: Stockton Council)


New pictures give a peek of a proposed new swimming pool and gym in a "refurbished and remodelled" Thornaby Pavilion.

The plans for a new 25-metre, five-lane swimming pool and gym connecting into Thornaby Pavilion Leisure Centre, in a two-storey building on the site of the former Phoenix House, are to go to Stockton Council for consideration. The existing Thornaby Pool will be closed and knocked down under the scheme.

The proposals - which will be available for the public to view on two mornings - are the latest step in efforts to transform the town centre with £23.9m of government money through the Thornaby Town Deal. They include a new swimming pool to be run by Tees Active Leisure with more learn-to-swim opportunities and school swimming partnerships.

They also feature a larger gym space, changing facilities, a new dedicated entrance, a new car park with about 50 more spaces, enhancements to the Pavilion's layout and fitness spaces and "improvements to the surrounding public realm".

A planning application for the complex will be submitted by the end of July. If approved, work on the new building will begin in early 2025, with the facility set to open in 2026.

An artist's impression of what the proposed new swimming pool in Thornaby could look like.
An artist's impression of what the proposed new swimming pool in Thornaby could look like. -Credit:Stockton Council

The plans are available to view online and in person at Thornaby Pavilion - on Tuesday, July 9 and Monday, July 15, both between 10am and 1pm - with a member of the council’s town centres investment team to discuss the proposals.

The existing Thornaby Pool on Thornaby Road will be closed and demolished as part of the plans. The council says there will be a "carefully phased" programme to ensure there is still a swimming facility available until the new pool is complete and open to the public.

It is one of the projects supported and endorsed by the Thornaby Town Deal Board, which includes representatives from key public and private bodies, Thornaby councillors and Stockton West MP Matt Vickers. Stockton Council's cabinet has approved a further £4.5m of investment to support the Town Deal funding.

Councillor Nigel Cooke, the council's cabinet member for regeneration and housing and also a member of the Town Deal board, said: "Thornaby is a thriving town, which means there is also an increasing demand for modern, first class services. From these exciting plans, it's clear to see that the fantastic leisure facilities here are going to be very popular for many years to come.

"One of the Thornaby Town Deal Board's priorities is to tackle vacant properties in the town centre and replacing an empty, tired building like Phoenix House with a modern community asset like this aligns perfectly with the council’s ambitions to transform its six town centres to ensure they remain vibrant places."

Stockton West MP Matt Vickers (left) and Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton Council's cabinet member for regeneration and housing
Stockton West MP Matt Vickers (left) and Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton Council's cabinet member for regeneration and housing -Credit:Gareth Lightfoot

Matt Vickers, MP for Stockton West who sits on the Town Deal Board, said: "Today's announcement is further testament to the amazing changes coming to Thornaby thanks for the £23.9m Town Deal funding awarded by the previous Conservative government. This new facility will provide the people of Thornaby and further afield the opportunity to enjoy state-of-the-art equipment and base it at the heart of our town, which I am sure will complement our High Street.

"I am proud of the role I and others on the Town Deal Board have played, and I look forward to seeing the leisure facility progress."

Cllr Cooke said previously: "It's been a real model of collaboration which I think needs to be celebrated, of people coming together to make positive changes."

He said before the Thornaby package - also including the demolition of the "eyesore" Golden Eagle - was announced in May: "We've got well advanced plans to create an extension to the Thornaby Pavilion which brings with it a really exciting wet leisure swimming pool facility and gym space.

An artist's impression of what the proposed new gym in Thornaby could look like.
An artist's impression of what the proposed new gym in Thornaby could look like. -Credit:Stockton Council

"When we invested in Ingleby Leisure, some people drew the conclusion that Thornaby wouldn't be getting a new pool. People were looking at that facility in Ingleby and thinking, 'Well they're getting all that, what are we getting?'

"We're serious about our leisure investment right across the borough. Now we're ready to move ahead, subject to planning, with a refurbished and remodelled Pavilion with will include a brand new pool. For anybody in Stockton who wants to take up swimming, there shouldn't be too much difficulty."

Iain Robinson, assistant director of town centre development, said: "There's expanded gym provision within the new building as well and there's a link between the new swimming pool and gym directly into the existing pavilion. It will become a single facility essentially, albeit there'll be two separate buildings."

Thornaby Town Deal Board chair Mark White CBE DL said today: "These exciting plans are testament to the hard work of all the Town Deal Board members in helping to bring about funding for such an ambitious project. They have backed this project from the very start and their vision has turned into a reality with these stunning designs."

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