Tyne & Wear

Work starts on South Shields swimming complex

Chris Cook, council officials and young members of South Tyneside Swimming Club
Image caption Chris Cook (top left) with council officials and young swimmers

Work has begun on a £16m swimming and leisure complex on South Tyneside.

The facility, at the former Majestic site in South Shields, will include an eight-lane competition pool, a separate training pool and water play area.

The complex will also feature dance studios, a gym, cafe facilities and roof-top viewing gallery.

Olympic gold medallist and local swimming star Chris Cook took part in a sod-cutting ceremony. Work is due to be complete by spring 2013.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, lead member for health and wellbeing at South Tyneside Council, said: "We believe South Tyneside can become a shining example of an active and healthy borough, but we recognise that the only way to do that is by creating facilities and opportunities that people want to use.

"With a great ambassador like Chris coming from the borough we have someone who can inspire a new generation of children interested in swimming.

"I believe that with facilities like this and great coaches like Ken Nesworthy, South Tyneside has all the ingredients to produce the swimming stars of the future."

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