Construction work has started on a new multi-million pound leisure facility in the north of Sheffield.
The North Active centre at Thorncliffe Recreation Ground, in High Green, along with a new £16million Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre in Norton, will be the first leisure developments in the city in a decade.
They will incorporate swimming pools, gyms and health and research facilities as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.
Operator Places for People Leisure was selected to run the sports venue in High Green, which will open in spring 2016.
Staff currently working at Chapeltown Pool, which will close when North Active opens, will transfer over to the new leisure centre.
Coun Isobel Bowler, cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Sheffield Council, said: “Here in Sheffield we have a proud sporting heritage and it is important that we build upon that to create the right environment in which the sportsmen and women of the future can train, develop and thrive.
“But it isn’t just about the elite, it is about every man, woman and child in our city being fitter, healthier and enjoying physical activity.
“This new leisure centre at High Green, along with the facilities that are also set to be developed at Graves, will be a top-class venue at which people from all walks of life can swim, take part in team sports and join in fitness sessions to make them happier and healthier.”
Coun Graham Oxley, chairman of Ecclesfield Parish Council, said: “It is an exciting and something which we have looked forward to for some time.
“These sport and leisure facilities are not only good news for local residents, but for Sheffield as a whole.”
Kamran Tirmizey, business development manager for Places for People Leisure, said the company was looking forward to helping Sheffield become the most active city in the UK by 2020.
He added: “We are looking forward to starting on site in April next year when this facility is ready and operating.”
Sir Andrew Cash, chief executive for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and chairman of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, said the building work was an important step to making it easier for people to be active as part of their everyday loves.
He said: “Part of that journey is about using physical activity within a patient’s recovery and rehabilitation as well as using it to prevent ill health. The facilities at Graves, High Green and Concord have been designed to support and co-locate patients, clinicians, researchers and exercise professionals as a way of making that happen.”
Sport England has invested £1million of National Lottery funding from its Iconic Facilities Fund towards the building of the new centre as well as working closely with the project team to provide detailed advice and support on the development of the plans.
Charles Johnston, Sport England property director, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting Sheffield Council with their plans to improve the city’s community sports facilities.
“First-class, local facilities are vital to getting more people playing sport regularly and the new North Active centre, together with the Graves tennis and leisure centre, will be a great addition to the city.”