MAJOR work to construct a modern 25 metre, 6-lane community pool at Palmer Park is coming along at pace, with the steel frame of the new pool set to start going up from the end of November.
Construction of the new pool is the next key milestone in the Council’s £40M investment in modern leisure facilities for the town, including delivering brand new pools, a modern leisure centre and improvements to existing leisure facilities, by spring 2023.
The new community pool and facilities will open to the public in late 2022. At Palmer Park, in addition to the refurbishment of the existing stadium building, there will be:
- A new 25 metre, 6-lane community pool
- A 100-station gym
- An activity zone for children with party rooms
- And a new café and information hub.
‘Vibro Piling’ is currently taking place on-site, to lay the foundations of the new facilities. Vibro Stone Columns (VSCs) offers a sustainable alternative to deep foundations. This technique contains no cement, concrete or steel, considerably reducing the carbon footprint compared to other traditional forms of foundation making.
Following the construction of the pool frame, the next major event will be the installation of the new pool roof and the replacement of the existing stadium roof. This work will take place from the end of April 2022.
The roof replacement work will necessitate the unavoidable closure of the gym and indoor sports facilities for around 6 months, until autumn 2022.
The outside stadium, including the track, athletics and velodrome will continue to be in use. Temporary toilet facilities will be provided for the duration of the closure for use by stadium users and members of the public.
All gym users will be able to access alternative fitness facilities at other GLL run Reading leisure centres during this period.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Sport, said:
“It is exciting times to see these improvements and the building of our new pools and leisure centre progressing at pace now. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the community pool frame going up at the end of this month which is when residents will be able to see the new facilities really beginning to take shape.
“We are currently contacting all users of this site to prepare them for the closure from April. The good news for stadium users is the outdoor facilities are unaffected. However, to allow for the roof replacement work to be carried out safely and securely the indoor facilities need to close for the duration of the work.
“Keeping the exciting end goal in sight - by late 2022 east Reading will boast a brand new 25m 6-lane community pool at Palmer Park, linked to existing sports facilities – combining the benefits of a sizable pool, velodrome and athletics stadium all in one accessible location – delivering a fairly unique facility in the region and putting Reading firmly on the map as a top sports destination.”
Paul Shearman, GLL’s Partnership Manager for Reading said: “This is an exciting major step on the road to delivering state-of-the-art leisure facilities to the people of Reading.
“The benefits that these new and updated facilities will offer the local community are huge. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of keeping physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
“Reading’s new and upgraded leisure provision will offer an inviting and welcoming environment, for all local residents to enjoy, in addition to enabling us to provide dedicated courses and activities that encourage better health and wellbeing.”
Gert-Jan Peeters, director of Pellikaan UK, said: “We are pleased that phase 2 of the construction is well underway now. The development of the plans, in liaison with Reading Borough Council and operator GLL, is going very well and we are confident that the centre will be a welcome addition for the local community next year.”
Work started on the Rivermead site on 31 August. The new Rivermead facilities will include a 25m 8-lane competition pool alongside a combined teaching and diving pool, due to open in spring 2023.
Work is also underway to improve the facilities at South Reading Leisure Centre, with improvement works are also planned at Meadway in west Reading, starting in the new year.
For regular updates on the leisure project visit www.better.org.uk/new-reading-leisure or follow the Council on social media @ReadingCouncil Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or GLL at @Better_Reading