COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead to demolish Crowtree Leisure Centre.
The 40-year-old venue is set to be knocked down in the coming months as part of plans to free up land in Sunderland city centre for development.
Yesterday, members of Sunderland City Council’s cabinet voted on a report which outlined the process to appoint contractors, landscaping plans and the disposal of the site.
Work could now start as early as May and be completed by the end of the year.
The meeting heard how the site would create a “development opportunity” for retailers and businesses, part of ongoing plans to boost the city centre as outlined in an Economic Masterplan. Members also pointed out that the council had invested £60million in leisure facilities.
“For years, as a local authority, we have been criticised for not looking to develop the city centre,” said Coun Graeme Miller.
“This is part of our plans to do just that.”
Crowtree Leisure Centre has been open to club and sports hall block bookings only since October 2011, with no “drop in” or “casual bookings”.
The new scheme envisages keeping a section of the building, which council officers say is an integral part of The Bridges and offers the potential for future retail, food and drink development.
The report said: “The future prosperity and growth of the city centre is in part dependent on the availability of development sites that will meet the modern day requirements of investors and developers.
“It is important sites are readily available and free from planning and development risk that deter development interest.”
It is hoped the redevelopment will be supported by multi-million-pound plans to create a modern “gateway” to the city, which includes the £13.4million facelift of the run-down St Mary’s Way area close to the Vaux site.