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Newcastle Centre to undergo major work as part of leisure centre development

By Donal McMahon

A well known building in a Co Down seaside town is to be renovated as a part of a multi-million pound leisure centre complex design.

The former Newcastle Tourist Centre at Annesley Mansions on the Central Promenade will undergo significant alterations but with careful attention paid so as not to impair the historical nature of the listed 1830s Georgian building.

Work on the Annesley building has been approved by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) with plans for internal alterations including the removal of tiered seating and steps and the widening of a corridor between the theatre and display room to create a new store. No objections were received on the plans.

Read more: Northern Ireland councils facing energy bill increases of hundreds of percent, official says

A NMDDC spokesperson confirmed the change to the structure that was once also home to the Annesley Arms hotel.

They said: “The Annesley building is a Grade B listed building and the part of Annesley building affected will be reinstated in line with the building’s original character as agreed with the Historic Environment division.”

Any works carried out at the Annesley structure will ensure the essential character of the building in its entirety remains intact and unimpaired including the use of sympathetic materials and techniques.

The Newcastle plan will see a major development of a new leisure centre built to the rear and to the side of the listed Annesley mansion.

Some controversy was aroused in the community over the planned removal of the iconic Tropicana slide at the current leisure site. The slide has been a Newcastle landmark for many years.

It has been stated that given the current condition of the slide it would require extensive works to repair it.

Consultants were previously appointed to complete a detailed feasibility study, examining potential sites in Newcastle for the new indoor complex.

The Council spokesperson added: “Regarding the Newcastle Centre Capital Project, it was agreed at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s Strategy, Policy and Resources Committee on 12 August 2021 to allocate an additional £450,000 to the council’s capital programme to procure the appointment of an economist and consultant team.

“Also, complete demolition works of the auditorium extension area only of the Newcastle Centre, and complete internal alterations of the Annesley building of the Newcastle Centre to assist in the re-housing of key bookings.”

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Dive Deeper:
Heritage organisation fears rise of skyscrapers could 'ruin' Newcastle's amazing architecture
The Northumberland and Newcastle Society (N&N) has called for action now to stop Tyneside being subject to a proliferation of…
M&S departure could cast a light on forgotten part of city centre
The established retailer’s move to Liverpool ONE has the potential to bring forward change in Williamson Square
Historic bridge destroyed at new Bristol recycling centre site
It could be 200 years old
Tyne Bridge to be shut for essential inspections that will pave way for £41m restoration
Several weeks of overnight closures are planned in order to allow engineers to work out just how bad a state…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
The 39 new developments in Bristol that will change the city as we know it
There are so many projects in the pipeline
Plans submitted to knock down much of the historic Corah factory in Leicester for 1,000-plus new homes
Plans include a block of 44 flats behind a decorative brick facade of an old textile works building
Get all your news in one place