"We have developed designs for a distinctive scheme that will deliver sociable and environmentally efficient homes and quality leisure facilities."
James Longfield, lead architect at Dixon Dawson
Plans for a new multi-million pound residential and leisure development in a County Durham town have been submitted for approval.
Initiated by local community organisation, Crook Community Leisure, a planning application is being considered by Durham County Council for 29 one, two and three bedroomed affordable homes on land to the north of Crook town centre, which are designed to meet the needs of local families, elderly residents and military veterans.
The move could see up to 100 new jobs in construction and the associated supply chain created while hundreds of thousands of pounds annually would be generated in extra revenue from people using the leisure facilities and paying community taxes.
A concurrent outline application has been lodged for a significant extension to the existing leisure centre at Peases West Sports Centre run by Crook Community Leisure. New facilities will include a new 25 m, six lane public swimming pool, multi-purpose studio room and an all-weather 3G rugby, football and hockey pitch with floodlighting. The car park is also scheduled for an upgrade to 103 spaces to support the new activities.
Together the projects seek to prioritise social and physical wellbeing with a focus on community facilities and generous public space. The housing layout features two community rooms, an orchard, shared gardens, natural play-spaces and allotments for residents, along with improved access to the extended leisure facilities.
The inclusion of a large function room within the leisure centre will also offer high quality space for events and weddings as part of the combined £10 million scheme being hailed by North East planning consultants Hedley Planning Services and Chester-le-Street architects Dixon Dawson as a ‘big boost’ for the local community.
Durham County Council have recognised Crook Community Leisure as a provider that offers a high standard of service and who will play an important role in the wider infrastructure of leisure provision as part of the upcoming county-wide Leisure Transformation Programme.
The pool and leisure facilities are anticipated to significantly improve access for local schools who currently transport pupils to facilities across the County, as well as other local sports organisations and clubs. In addition both schemes will boost local employment and revenue.
The housing application has been supported by Homes England funding and follows the government’s 2020 announcement that more than £160m is being made available across England to support affordable housing projects.
The homes will help Durham achieve its affordable homes target and engage with Westminster’s push for thousands of new properties to meet the national housing shortage.
Joe Ridgeon, director at Hedley Planning Services, who is steering the proposals through planning approval, said: “This project is an exciting opportunity to provide high-quality housing and a much needed leisure facility boost for local people to enjoy.
“The commercial pressures associated with affordable housing are different to volume house building. Our experience working for registered social housing providers and developers across the region means that we can add value to this type of planning.”
James Longfield, lead architect at Dixon Dawson, added: “With our innovative research-based approach, we have developed designs for a distinctive scheme that will deliver sociable and environmentally efficient homes and quality leisure facilities adding social value to enrich the local community.”