It’s been seven years since the closure of the much beloved crowtree leisure centre in sunderland, which for many left a blank space in the city and many fun times behind. Although years have since past and new “replacement” facilities emerged in Sunderland Aquatic Centre operated by EveryOne Active, for some it has never been the same. For parents with children, the magical dynamic of Crowtree with its elaborate children’s pool, wave machines and play areas, its closure has never been the same with some crying out for new facilities in the area of the same quality, saying: “kids will never understand the fun times we had. they don’t have anything like that now.”

With the development of the Former Vaux Brewery Site, some hoped that their wishes could be granted, only to find themselves still disappointed due to its focus on commercial buildings, rather than entertainment. As a result the demolition of Crowtree is yet to even prove its own worth, with the site lying empty with no plans nor progress on a proposed extension of the bridges to fill the space. Thus despite EveryOne active facilities emerging in the past few years, the demise of the Centre has arguably been painful and irreplaceable, leaving the city without any major leisure facilities and meant potential customers had to travel afar to access.

The days of the Old Crowtree

What the centre once offered the people of Sunderland was irreplaceable. The empty spot is symbolic of not only what has been lost, but what the people of Sunderland are not receiving. This was a remarkable facility, once hosting a permanent ice skating rink, of which there are only two in the North East, an indoor football pitch which has many perks to playing outside, as noted above a gigantic fun swimming facility which was more suited to children than the Olympic pool near the Stadium of Light, it hosted a wave machine, a massive diving tank and even the opportunity to host water discos. It was an excellent resource for parents to take their children on a day out to. Unarguably, the city has not made up for what was lost when the facility was closed, drawing an end to decades worth of memories there.

Crowtree Leisure Centre after closure, just prior to demolition

The case for a new Leisure facility in Sunderland

Given the above, the case for a replacement of Crowtree speaks for itself. Cutting down and outsourcing piecemeal parts of the city’s leisure to various locations hasn’t even close to fulfilled what has been lost. The EveryOne active facilities including the Sunderland Aquatic Centre and Silksworth Sports Centre, are useful for individual adult exercise but poor for entertainment and leisure purposes. A new facility which fills this need is required in the City Centre. After the coronavirus outbreak is over, it is vital to continue to inject life and activity into the heart of Sunderland. This needs to be a city where families can go and enjoy themselves. Every resource needs to be placed in helping children have productive, acceptable and enjoyable experiences, decreasing inclinations for anti-social behavior.