READING’S new demountable pool is nearly completion, with the main building structure now in place.
The new 25 metre, 5 lane pool at Rivermead is expected to open to the public on Monday 15th January 2018.
The building of the new demountable pool is moving on at pace. The main structure was completed at the end of October, the pool tank is expected to be in place by early December, with changing rooms complete and the tank filled with water by the end of December.
The temporary pool will provide continuity of swimming 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 aim to open in 2020 to replace ageing and expensive-to-run facilities at Central Pool and Arthur Hill.
There will be a new swim lesson and club programme at the new pool and in the existing lagoon pool at Rivermead. A detailed swimming timetable will be available soon.
GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) – who manage Rivermead Leisure Centre on behalf of the Council, will operate the demountable pool to complement existing leisure facilities at Rivermead, including the fitness centre, lagoon pool and sports hall.
Swimmers will 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 a new bus service – Buzz42 from Kenavon Drive.
Regular Central Pool swimmers will be offered a temporary window to transfer their Reading Sport and Leisure membership to GLL membership and use the demountable at the same price they are currently paying. Central Pool will close to the public from the end of January 2018.
Swimming concession prices will also be available for the new demountable pool alongside the existing swim prices for the lagoon pool.
Councillor Sarah Hacker, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:
“I’m pleased to see the new pool is on track for its opening in early January, 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 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 new 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 GLL 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.”
Simon Smith, director of swimming pool specialist World Leisure (UK) Ltd, said:
“Demountable pools are a relatively new concept and provide a fantastic solution for local authorities to continue to provide swimming facilities for local residents while upgrading permanent facilities. World Leisure is one of only a handful of demountable pool specialists in the UK, servicing customers including leisure centres, health clubs, hotels, schools, colleges, universities, multi-sport venues and domestic customers, and we are very proud to be working on this project, which we believe is a fantastic solution for Reading.”
An FAQ for the changes is available on GLL’s website http://www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/reading/rivermead-leisure-complex/news
View a video of Cllr Hacker at the pool site here www.youtube.com/watch?v=D50xw7WXQZE&spfreload=10
Notes To Editors:
Photos of Cllr Sarah Hacker and representatives from GLL, as well as concept images of the demountable pool, are available on request or can be downloaded from https://www.flickr.com/gp/readingnewsimages/SFhmqb
The planning application for the demountable pool can be viewed here: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/welcome.asp (planning reference number 162323)
Why is a temporary pool necessary?
Whilst the Council’s longer term ambition is to provide modern new leisure and swimming facilities at both Palmer Park Stadium and land at Rivermead, the Council took the decision to provide a demountable because of the timescale involved in delivering an ambitious project of this scale and the high and increasing risk of a forced closure of Central Pool because of its poor condition.
Taking forward proposals for the modernisation of leisure facilities involves a complex procurement, design and build process. The current timetable shows the appointment of an operator in 2019 who will then develop detailed proposals and build out the new facilities, as well as operating existing facilities, including Meadway and South Reading leisure centres.
The Council is facing unprecedented budget challenges and can no longer invest money in ageing facilities that would only have a limited lifespan. With the planned closure of the ageing facilities at Arthur Hill (in December 2016) and Central Pool (January 2018), the demountable pool at Rivermead will help plug the gap in swimming provision pending the opening of the two new pools.