Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Sunday, 24 August 2008 15:45 UK

Ice arena plan at sports stadium

Gateshead Stadium
The stadium has hosted international athletics and music concerts

Plans to build an ice arena next to Gateshead's International Stadium have been announced.

Gateshead Council also wants an indoor winter sports complex, a links golf course, restaurants and shops at the seven-acre site.

It is now seeking a private company to help develop the "sports village" as well as upgrade the existing stadium.

The area has already been selected as a pre-games training camp for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Athletes competing to win Olympic gold in athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, fencing, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling may be training in Gateshead.

Watersports plan

Councillor David Napier, the council's cabinet member for culture, said: "The stadium is already a world-famous athletics venue, and its reputation as a major training facility is growing.

"Our aim now is to capitalise on what we already have here by developing something really special."

The ice arena would cater for public skating and ice hockey, while the Snowdome would offer all-season skiing and snow boarding.

Council leaders are also investigating the possibility of creating a watersports facility on the River Tyne.

The stadium site already boasts an indoor athletics hall and it is the base for the English Institute of Sport in the North East.

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