Published: Thursday, 22nd June 2017

The milestone 'topping out' ceremony took place on 21 June.

Joined by the Vice Chair and Secretary of the Friends of Sutcliffe Park, Cllr Denise Hyland and Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald swapped a trowel for wildflower seeds to scatter them on the green roof on the new centre, taking the place of the traditional topping out ceremony.

The new multi-sports centre is planned to open in January 2018.

New facilities

Built next to the existing outdoor athletics track, the new centre will have extensive first-class facilities, including:

  • A six lane, 60 metre sprint track plus run off
  • Full jumps provision (long, triple and high jump)
  • An indoor throwing cage and netting accommodating for discus, hammer and shot put
  • Conditioning training weights area specifically tailored to athletics participants
  • Indoor BMX and skatepark
  • An indoor 'clip and climb' climbing hall with different climbing ability levels
  • Indoor space to be used by schools or groups to train and learn in
  • An outdoor covered area to support learning in the park nature reserve.

The new sports centre will offer significantly enhanced athletics facilities to those that are already on site, and well as offering a high quality centre with provision for a range of sports all year round. It will provide a wide range of opportunities for sports participation for all, up to competition and elite level, and will enable activities in all types of weather, encouraging a year-round commitment to active and healthy lifestyles.

As well as the café, the centre will also have an outside eating area, outside children's play area and brand new toilets for park users - facilities the local community has been requesting for some time.

Disability friendly

All activities and facilities at the new centre will be available for people with disabilities, something that the Royal Borough committed to as part of its Olympic and Paralympic legacy, including using the new indoor track, throwing cage and conditioning room for training.

Nature reserve

Sutcliffe Park has a nature reserve which is rich in wildlife - careful consideration has been given to ensure the new building complements its surroundings and adds to the environment. The building will include a bio diverse roof and landscaping, including planting new shrubs and trees to complement the ecological biodiversity of the park. Hedging will screen the car park and a new pond will be created on the north side of the building to assist with controlling an potential flood risk.

'First rate facilities for local people'

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Culture, Creative Industries and Community Well-Being, said: "The Sutcliffe Park leisure centre will offer first rate facilities for local people, and we're hoping that they go on to inspire some of our young people to be future Olympians, with both climbing and skateboarding having recently been added as Olympic sports.

"With no other indoor skate parks for miles - indeed, very few in the country - there are few high quality indoor tracks like this in the country, and I am delighted that we will be able to offer a very unique facility for residents and athletes from further afield to enjoy. I look forward to coming back again in a few months to see the centre complete."

'Attract more visitors to this wonderful park'

John Briggs, Vice Chair of the Friends of Sutcliffe Park, who attended the ceremony, said: "The Friends are always keen to attract more visitors to this wonderful park, with its lovely ponds and landscaping, and the new leisure centre certainly adds to what's on offer for local people of all ages, with such marvellous facilities planned. We were very keen to ensure as much biodiversity was preserved as possible and are very happy with the sustainable elements that have been incorporated to the designs, such as the outdoor classroom for young learners and the green roof."