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Planning approval given to new community centre

Planning approval has been given to a new build community centre to replace the Southlands Centre in Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston has previously promised the facility would come back “better than ever” when his Executive team approved the community and sport hub.

And now Middlesbrough Council’s Planning and Development Committee has given the scheme the green light.

Members voted unanimously to approve the development at the site off Ormesby Road.

The investment will see a total of £2.2m spent on phase one of a community centre. A further £1.5m would see new and improved outdoor sport facilities built on the site.

The sporting hub would include the creation of new grass pitches, a new 3G all-weather pitch, the refurbishment of an existing 3G pitch and the Unity City Academy changing rooms, additional new changing rooms and extra car parking.

In addition to the £2.6m Council funding already committed, further sums of £600,000 and £500,000 have been secured from the Football Foundation and Towns Fund respectively.

The planning approval also includes provisions in place for a potential “phase two” extension of the facility.

Speaking previously Mr Preston said: “We’re going to deliver the facilities the people of East Middlesbrough deserve.

“Local people have been incredibly patient with this project so this is great news. The Southlands will come back better than ever – it will be an amazing place at the heart of a proud community.”

At the Town Hall meeting as planning approval was given, Cllr Mick Saunders, member for the Beckfield and Park End ward, said: “I would just like to say on behalf of myself and my fellow ward councillors, Cllr Brian Hubbard and Cllr Stephen Hill, that we are fully supportive of this.

“We are looking forward to working with the council for this new facility for the local community and the far wider community to use.”