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Consultation outcomes on Riverside Leisure Complex facilities

Have your say on leisure transformation proposals at Riverside Leisure Complex.


See our Leisure transformation consultation page for information about the leisure transformation project.

What we proposed

Proposals at a glance

The table below shows the planned changes at a glance:

Third generation (3G) artificial grass pitchesTwo additional floodlit 3G artificial grass pitches
Natural grass pitchesRemaining grass pitches to be kept and marked in line with current and future demand.
Athletics track and facilitiesWill be refurbished to meet UK Athletics standards
Tennis courtsAddition of access path to 3G pitches
Cricket pitch and practise netsNo change

Floodlight alterations are required to provide improved lighting levels around the athletics areas and to achieve the required Football Association (FA) standard of lighting for football on the centre pitch.

Proposals in more detail

3G artificial grass pitches

3d image of sports grounds

Local sports plans show a need for additional 3G artificial grass pitches at Riverside. We are proposing to build a double, full size, floodlit facility that meets FA design guidance.

It will be to the southeast of the site, where it will have the lowest visual and noise impact on existing properties, and a suitable distance from trees to the west in order to avoid root damage. 

Each pitch will be lit by sports floodlights mounted on six 15 m columns, with a design that cuts off excess light towards nearby buildings and into the sky and avoids bats being diverted from their natural foraging routes. The floodlights can be used during normal opening hours, but will be used less at times when there is more natural light. Sections of the pitches can be lit independently, and a dimming facility can be used for non-match activities eg training.

Each 100 m by 64 m pitch can be split into sections to allow cross-field play for junior matches and training. The playing surfaces uses registered UK and EU compliant materials and will have a green perimeter fence designed to improve appearance and reduce ball impact noise.

The pitches will be connected to the main building, changing area and toilets by a new footpath with safety fence and safety lighting. A CCTV system will also improve site security and reduce opportunities for anti-social behaviour.

Natural grass pitches

The grass pitches on the southwest part of the site will be marked, in line with available space, and future requests from grass pitch sports teams.

There are no plans to install perimeter fencing around the southern end of the site, so public use and east/west access to the river walk will remain.

Athletics track

We propose to re-texture the track and increase its life for use by schools, athletics club and community. The new surface will meet UK Athletics standards, World Athletics Certification and the required safety standards.


We propose to light the centre pitch (inner track) to Football Association standards and to improve lighting for athletics. Options include an upgrade of existing athletics lighting or  the installation of  four 20 m floodlight columns, each carrying sports lights at 20 m and 12 m heights. The new floodlights can be used during normal opening times, but will be used less when natural light is available. Their design prevents light spilling upwards or affecting people living nearby. They can be dimmed to suit the standard of play.

Car parking

There is lots of parking space at Riverside. We propose to improve signs around the site so you can find your way easily from the car parks to the Riverside Complex.

Site plan

See the  Riverside proposed site plan (PDF) [2MB]  for where this work will happen.

Have your say

The closing date for comments was 5.00pm on Friday 15 July 2022.

What happens next

Following review of the feedback from the leisure conversation in the summer of 2022, the council has adapted some aspects of the proposals and is now asking residents to have their say on revised plans as part of a wider Consultation outcomes on outdoor sporting facilities in Chester-le-Street.  

March 2024 update

The outcomes of the initial Riverside consultation in the summer 2022 were used to adapt the proposals, and these adapted plans were subject to further consultation during the subsequent consultation on outdoor sporting facilities in Chester-le Street.

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