TONY GILLAN: Crowtree was a joy - but do we really need another?
Could Crowtree Leisure Centre rise from the ashes? It’s what Sunderland’s Liberal Democrats want.
The centre closed in 2011 after 34 years. Two thirds of it were demolished in 2013. The remainder, formerly an ice rink, still stands but is empty.
It first opened in 1977. For those entering the building for the first time it felt like travelling forward in time. There was a “beach-style” swimming pool with a diving pool, learner pool that was lovely and warm for the little ‘uns, wave machine and famously long hydra-slide.
As for the choice of activities; if your sport of choice didn’t involve an engine or animal, Crowtree could accommodate you. There was also soft play, a bar and an amusement arcade. Queues to enter were often enormous.
But regarding a direct replacement we must first ask the cost. The Lib Dems’ proposals would need to be budgeted.
Do we really need anything on that scale? Sunderland now has the Aquatic Centre with its Olympic sized pool. There are other modern pools in the Raich Carter Centre, Silksworth, Hetton and Washington.
Would a massive new facility bring back visitors as the leisure centre once did? This is doubtful. In 1977, no town or city within a wide radius of Sunderland could compete with Crowtree. That wouldn’t be the case now.
I miss Crowtree. But not that much.