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A new water sports centre in County Durham has won a prestigious national planning award.

The centre, at Seaham Harbour Marina, picked up the Chair’s Award at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North East Awards for Planning Excellence.

The awards, which took place on Friday (6 October) in Newcastle, celebrate outstanding projects that demonstrate the power of planning.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the water sports centre has received such high profile recognition, particularly so soon after building work finished.

“We have worked hard to create a building that not only fits in with the rest of the marina development but that also provides services that complement the existing retail and leisure offer.

“We are confident that the water sports centre will attract more people to the area and further enhance Seaham’s growing reputation as a visitor destination.”

The centre, which has only been operating since July, was paid for by a grant from the Coastal Communities Fund and match-funding from Durham County Council, Seaham Harbour Community Interest Company and Sport England.

It provides a changing facility, showers, kayak store and office space as well as offering a programme of courses in kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and other activities. East Coast Fitness is also based at the centre.

The centre is based at Seaham Harbour Marina, which won RICS and RIBA North East awards in 2014 and a commendation in the North East RTPI Awards in 2014.

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