PLANS to build a demountable pool at Rivermead have moved forward after the planning application was lodged in late December.
The application is due to be considered on 8th February 2017. If approved, the temporary pool will provide continuity of swimming provision for central Reading whilst the permanent replacement for Central Pool is built.
The Council is planning to build two new swimming pools in Reading that will open in 2020 to replace ageing and expensive-to-run facilities at Central Pool and Arthur Hill. Demountable pools are of a high standard and have been successfully used in other parts of the country to bridge the gap whilst new facilities are being built.
Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) – who manage Rivermead Leisure Centre on behalf of the Council – has submitted the planning application and would also operate the demountable pool. The planning application is for a demountable 25-metre, 5 lane pool to complement existing leisure facilities at Rivermead, including the fitness centre, lagoon pool and sports hall.
Swimmers would access the demountable pool through the existing main entrance at Rivermead. They would also be able to use the other facilities at the site, including the café. The site benefits from ample car parking and an improved bus service is planned, which means it could comfortably cope with additional visitors.
Under proposals, regular Central Pool swimmers would be offered a temporary window to transfer their Reading Sport and Leisure membership to GLL membership to use the demountable pool.
Subject to planning permission, work should commence in May 2017, with the demountable pool expected to open by January 2018, following the planned closure of Central Pool.
Central Pool has come to the end of its design life and is due to close in late 2017 to avoid the risk of an unplanned closure because of building or plant failure. Longer term, the Council is committed to replacing it with a new competition-standard pool with the Rivermead site being the preferred location. The modern new facility would host an 8 lane, 25-metre competition standard pool. Unlike any other facility in Berkshire, it would also include diving provision, as well as hosting a range of indoor sports.
Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:
“I’m pleased to see this application submitted as the Council works towards delivering modern, new swimming facilities for Reading. Pools of this kind have been used successfully in other parts of the country to bridge the gap between old pools closing and new facilities being built. The demountable pools are built to a very high standard.
“The Council is fully committed to delivering two new purpose-built swimming pools for Reading. Central Pool will be replaced with a brand new competition pool, with dedicated diving provision and a range of indoor sports. In east Reading we will build a 6 lane community pool in Palmer Park, adding to existing leisure facilities and creating a modern new multi-sports centre for local residents.
“At a time of unprecedented Government cuts to our budget and huge demands on Council services, building two new pools is a major commitment but we feel very strongly that people have the right to expect modern new sports facilities.”
Paul Shearman, Partnership Manager for Greenwich Leisure Ltd in Reading, said:
“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with the Council to support the introduction of the demountable pool at Rivermead. GLL is committed to offering quality services at affordable prices for the local community, and the demountable pool will certainly offer fantastic swimming provision for local people.”
In October the Council agreed an outline timetable for the procurement and delivery of modern new leisure and swimming facilities at both Palmer Park and land at Rivermead by 2020. The timetable shows the award for the leisure contract would be in place by early 2018, construction would begin in the summer of 2018 and the two new pools would be open for public use in early 2020. (see report at www.reading.gov.uk/article/9620/Policy-Committee-31-OCT-2016 – Item 11)
The planning application can be viewed here: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/welcome.asp (planning reference number 162323)
An FAQ for the proposals is also available on GLL’s website www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/reading/rivermead-leisure-complex/newsitems
Notes for Editors:
Indicative images of the demountable pool are available on request.
Reading Borough Council has made more than £65 million of savings since 2011 as a result of Government cuts and increased demands on services. Latest estimates are that more than £42 million worthy of savings still need to be made by 2020.