Dover Leisure Centre
Opening in early 2019, the new Dover Leisure Centre is currently under construction at a cost of £26m.
The new facility is an exciting new venture for the area and will include the first, county-standard, eight-lane competition swimming pool in Kent (8 lane x 25m). The new leisure centre will also be home to spectator seating for up to 250 people, a smaller learner pool with a moveable floor, a four court sports hall, 120 station health and fitness studio, 2 activity studios, a spin studio, squash court, interactive climbing wall, sauna, steam room and 2 outdoor 3G pitches.
The new venue has been designed by GT3 Architects and is currently being constructed by BAM Construction. The building will make the most of its location with extensive glazing at the front to give the general public a strong idea of what’s going on inside. A double height reception will be overlooked by the fitness studio. The café includes an external terrace.
Vibrant colours will be prevalent throughout the building to create a warm and inviting feel. Striking timber elements will give the centre a fresh, contemporary feel.
Planning consent for the project was granted in August 2017 and work began a couple of months later in October 2017. The erection of the building’s steel frame is making good progress while a large proportion of the car park has already been completed. Ground excavations are also underway on the two squash courts. Delivered in January 2018, five 34m, 9 tonne spruce beams will support the leisure centre’s roof. Eight larch columns will act as the main entrance canopy.
The new leisure centre has been designed to meet the latest Sport England facilities requirements and will be accessible for people with a wide range of disabilities. The swimming pool for example, will be fully accessible with pool pods for wheelchair users.
The project is already having a positive impact on the local area. To date, more than 30% of the total order values for construction of the new leisure centre have been place with companies in Kent. Five apprentices are also working on site.
The project is being funded through a combination of council reserves, borrowing and a land swap for the existing leisure centre. Sport England are also contributing approximately £1.5m to the project. The current leisure centre was originally built in the 1970s but in recent years has outgrown demand. With little room to expand, the most viable option moving forward was to invest in a brand new facility.
When it opens, the leisure centre will be operated by Places for People Leisure Management Ltd. The company has been awarded a 12 year contract and currently has a portfolio of over 100 leisure facilities for local authorities across the country.
The progress of Dover’s new leisure centre can be followed on BAM’s dedicated Facebook page – www.facebook.com/BAM-The-New-Dover-District-Leisure-Centre-297837404052498.