The first pictures and prospective opening date for a controversial new £12.6 million leisure centre have been revealed.

The computer generated images of the state-of-the art complex on Wilsons Playing Fields in Clayton-le-Moors, have been released by Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Marlene Haworth.

She also revealed work on the building will start early next year with an anticipated opening date in Spring 2025.

The council and Hyndburn Leisure have completed the legal and planning details following Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Communities Michael Gove giving his seal of approval to the project in October as reported in the Lancashire Telegraph.

The new development - delivered in partnership with Sport England which has provided a £2.4m grant - will include a four-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, a fitness suite, sauna and steam room, group exercise studio, café, large changing village and dedicated changing facilities for teams making use of the various outdoor sports facilities.

Lancashire Telegraph: An artist's impression of the facilityAn artist's impression of the facility

Funding for the project has been allocated by Hyndburn Council as part of the borough’s leisure transformation plan.

The scheme has proved controversial from the start as it will replace the closed swimming pool in Mercer Hall.

In September, Hyndburn planning committee voted by six votes to five with two abstentions to grant permission for the project on Green Belt land subject to Cabinet Minster Mr Gove's final approval.

Lancashire Telegraph: The plans have been controversialThe plans have been controversial

This was despite pleas from two Great Harwood residents and Overton ward Labour councillor Colin McKenzie to reject the scheme in favour of an alternative in or near the township.

Revealing the images and building schedule Cllr Haworth said: "“The development of the new leisure and sports centre is part of our ongoing commitment to provide everyone in our community with the leisure and social opportunities they need to prosper.

"The modern building will complement the existing outdoor sports facilities creating opportunities for the whole community to enjoy a wide variety of activities both as participants and as spectators.

"This investment will provide a community facility that drives health and happiness for many years to come.”

In addition to creating a modern activity and sports hub the new building will be designed to optimise energy efficiency.

Air source heat pumps, solar panels and the utilisation of the very latest low and zero carbon technologies will support the council’s ambition to achieve net zero by 2030.

All works are to be delivered through the UK Leisure Framework managed by Denbighshire Leisure Ltd and led by leisure development specialists Alliance Leisure in consultation with Hyndburn Council and Hyndburn Leisure.