Since the launch of the new multi million pound Leisure Centre and Academy in Consett which opened back in July 2015, the change to the area has been quite significant. The project cost £44m and was carried out by the contractors Carillion to bring a state-of-the-art leisure and education facility to the town. The facilities are great but they have definitely added to a serious congestion problem during the School opening and closing times making Medomsley Road almost grind to a stand still.
The old Baths and Sports Centre are no more, both being raised to the ground for the sake of progress. However, like the old Baths, the old sport centre held great memories for many. 5 a Side leagues, badminton, trampolines, squash, indoor bowling, archery and so much more. It was a place people went to keep fit socialise or even hold their wedding receptions.
When first planned it was hoped that Consett Sport Hall would fill a long felt need in the area, especially for the younger residents. The initial ground breaking took place in 1974 after the Ashdale Road site had been allocated. The plans accommodated a main hall of 120ft by 105ft, 2 separate gymnasiums, 4 Lane indoor bowling green, 4 squash courts, weights room, Committee and Club rooms, Bar & Shop, Shower and changing rooms and also a Spectators gallery.
The doors opened on Saturday 24th May 1975 to great expectations and appreciation and the popularity of the place was instant. Membership was £2.20 Adults, £1.50 Junior, 50p OAP and £4.40 Family (children under 16). Hiring of the facilities ranged from 20p an hour for Table Tennis to £1 an hour for the large hall, half that for juniors. If only hire prices were the same today.
So for almost 30 years we had the pleasure of a great facility; the images, smells and experiences which now will forever be shelved within the memories of all those who walked through its doors.