THE new, state-of-the-art Ponteland Leisure Centre has opened its doors to the public for the first time, albeit with limited facilities operational due to Tier 3 restrictions for the county.

Active Northumberland members and the wider public can now access the six-lane swimming pool for lane swimming and learner and children’s swimming lessons are also running. The 100-station gym, with the latest Technogym equipment, has also opened.

To ensure social distancing is in place, numbers are limited and customers are required to pre-book all activities online from the Active Northumberland website or app to secure their place.

The multi-million-pound sports centre, funded by Northumberland County Council, will cater for the whole community including the elderly, school groups, families, sports clubs and social groups.

Once the centre can open fully to the public, they will be enjoy the new HIVE Café, Clip 'n Climb facility and Softplay, as well as the Tranquillity Spa and Hive Sports Bar. There are also outdoor sports fields, two multi-use games areas and a full size 3G pitch, while the four-court sports hall with indoor cricket nets will also provide opportunities for indoor sports activities.

Northumberland County Councillor Jeff Watson, cabinet member for healthy lives, said: “The new Ponteland Leisure Centre offers some of the very best facilities in the North-East, with opportunities for fun, fitness and relaxation.

"We want residents to know that it is a facility that will welcome and support everyone - whatever their age. It is inclusive and accessible to all.

"While it is opening this week in a limited capacity, we very much look forward to a time in the not-too-distant future when it will be fully operational and enjoyed by the whole community. ”

Mark Warnes, acting chief executive of Active Northumberland, added: “Our focus at Active Northumberland is on participation for all and improving health and wellbeing. We have a fantastic team of friendly, knowledgeable and experienced fitness coaches ready to welcome and help local residents of all ages and fitness levels on their wellness journey.

"While the services we can offer are limited during the Tier 3 restrictions, we are very excited about the future of this centre and the importance it will play in the local community.”

The £43million sports and leisure complex forms part of a new Northumberland County Council funded education and leisure development on Callerton Lane, which has seen the existing Ponteland leisure centre replaced and two brand new school facilities - a 1,600 pupil secondary school, a 420-pupil primary school and a 52-place nursery, which opened in November.