Calls for more investment in Prudhoe despite funds promised for Waterworld Leisure Centre upgrades

There are calls for Northumberland County Council to invest more money in one of its largest towns despite a commitment to improving an existing leisure centre.

Data from the 2021 census showed that Prudhoe was the eighth largest town in Northumberland, with a population of 10,288. However, it has received just £3.91 million in capital investment from the council since 2017.

This is the lowest of any of the county’s 10 largest towns and more than £62m less than nearby Ponteland, which has a similar population. The county council has recently committed to fund improvements at the town’s Waterworld Leisure Centre, while plans to regenerate the nearby East Centre are also moving forward.

However, speaking at Wednesday’s meeting of full council, Labour’s Coun Angie Scott called for more investment on top of this. Coun Scott, who represents the Prudhoe North ward was speaking on a report highlighting the council’s areas of focus in supporting businesses and opportunities over the next 12 months.

Coun Scott said: “I welcome the £1.5m that is coming to Waterworld and it is really good to see the East Centre mentioned. However, what else is coming to Prudhoe?

“£66.1m was spend in one neighbouring town in Ponteland. What else is coming to Prudhoe?”

The council’s Conservative cabinet member for business, Coun Wojciech Ploszaj, responded: “We have got a Place Programme coming for Borderlands projects. It is for Prudhoe members and the partnership to decide how they would like to spend the money.

“There are lots of projects going on and lots of money coming for Prudhoe.”

The place programme is a “central part” of the Borderlands Deal and supports the growth of towns through place and town investment plans. The plans are developed at a local level, with each place plan setting out the community’s vision for the future of their area and enabling them to apply for investment through a range of matched funding that goes beyond the deal’s investment.

The place programme involves seven towns in Northumberland, with Prudhoe developing its place plan alongside Rothbury, Haltwhistle and Bellingham. Prudhoe’s plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Council leader Glen Sanderson added: “We have invested in the leisure centre in Prudhoe and we will be spending getting on for £2m by the time we are finished. We have just agreed a significant amount of money for a new soft play area for the very good and very popular leisure centre.”

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