Help Shape Future of Palmer Park and New Community Pool

LOCAL residents and park users are being encouraged to help shape the future of Palmer Park, including Council plans to build a modern new community swimming pool for east Reading, as part of a public consultation launching today (Dec 14th).

A draft Palmer Park development framework has been produced to provide a planning blueprint for the new pool, which forms part of Reading Borough Council’s commitment to provide modern and much-improved new facilities for swimmers. The Council wants to ensure more detailed guidance is in place for Palmer Park to ensure the development of a new swimming pool is seen in the context of the wider character and history of the park, and its surroundings.

As well as being an important green space and local park, Palmer Park is home to a number of well-used facilities, including the stadium athletics track and velodrome, the bowling club and sports pitches. There are also a number of underused facilities which have the potential to become attractive and well-used spaces.

The draft framework  proposes a range of improvements to the park. Key to this is the idea of providing a ‘heart’ to the park, an improved setting for the George Palmer statue, reinstated pedestrian routes and a proposed new car park area.  It also provides two options for the development of the new community swimming pool.

People can view the full Draft Palmer Park Planning Framework on the Council’s website at Copies can also be viewed at the Civic Offices on Bridge Street between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, and at the Central Library and Palmer Park Library during normal opening hours.

An informal drop-in event, where residents and park users can speak to planning officers and ask any questions, will be held at Palmer Park Stadium (Wokingham Road, Reading, RG6 1LF) between 3pm and 8pm on Tuesday 15th January. People are welcome to drop in at any time without booking.

Consultation responses should be sent to, or in writing to: Planning Policy Team, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU. The consultation runs until 22nd February 2019.

Tony Page
Cllr Tony Page

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“This is an important community consultation which will help shape the future of what is a historic and valued community park and provide guidance on how modern new swimming facilities will be integrated into Palmer Park.

“The draft framework focuses on a number of important themes which include reinstating the heart of the park, retaining character, strengthening the leisure offer and consolidating car parking. It also offers two different options on the development of the new swimming pool.

“It is important to say this is a draft document and the purpose of the consultation is to gather as much feedback as possible before a final draft is created. I would urge as many local residents and parks users as possible to make the time to take part.”

Earlier this year Reading Borough Council began  a procurement process to identify a single leisure provider to improve and operate all its indoor leisure facilities across the town.

Plans for a brand new community pool at Palmer Park, to replace the closed Arthur Hill Pool, and the long-term replacement for Central Pool – a modern new competition pool, complete with diving provision, which will be located on land at Rivermead – form a major part of the procurement process which is on-going. Facilities at Palmer Park Stadium, Meadway Sports Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre are also included, as will, initially, the temporary demountable pool which opened in January 2018 to replace Central Pool in the short-term.

Oscar Mortali

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