PLANS for a new exercise village and football centre which will create more than 50 jobs in St Helen Auckland were revealed this week.
The Fusion 21 Active Village would cover 3.9 acres at Tindale Crescent and will include 10 indoor football pitches, an injury treatment and fitness centre and a gym accessible to disabled people.
There will also be conference facilities, a hydrotherapy pool and multi-use dance area.
Although still in the early stages, Fusion 21, the group behind the plans, hope to have the centre up and running by the summer of 2010.
Head of sport and development Ken Houlahan said: "We're getting final costs on Friday and then we will need it to be scrutinised before submitting it for planning permission. This is an exciting development and will be ideally situated for users from the dales, Darlington and surrounding area. It will be an institute of sport which will promote elite athletes but also engage people with sport.
"The premises will house the most innovative and inclusive sports development project that the area has seen. It will cater from pre-school to the pensioner, the able-bodied and the disabled and for general sports participation to elite performer."
Local politicians have given their support to the scheme.
West Auckland county councillor Andy Turner used to be a professional footballer and said: "Anything that promotes football is very close to my heart. This sounds like a terrific scheme that will not only bring more jobs but will provide more opportunities for people to take part in sport."
The Active Village complex would be next door to the Terrace Hill development featuring a Sainsbury's supermarket, multi-screen cinema, bowling alley and football stadium for Bishop Auckland FC.
The Wear Valley Mercury, 23rd April 2009