Kenilworth leisure centre consultation

The public consultation on the initial options to upgrade and improve the sports and leisure facilities in Kenilworth has now closed. A summary of the feedbacy will be made available towards the end of December 2018.

The information gathered will inform the next stages of the design work to help us short list options to work up further, leading to a planning application at the end of 2019.  As part of the planning application there will be further opportunity for you to comment on the plans. 

The story so far

Having recently completed the improvement works to Newbold Comyn and St Nicholas Park Leisure Centres, we are now focused on improving the facilities at Abbey Fields and Castle Farm to the same high standard. During Summer 2018 the Council engaged a professional design team and together we started the initial design and feasibility work. After some consideration we developed a set of outline options on which we recently consulted the public. In drawing up these options we took account of the Sport England Facilities Planning Model and revised Indoor Sports Strategy (2018) which both evidence the need for additional sports hall and swimming pool space.  

As part of the process the team initially considered numerous options which were then assessed on design quality, flexibility, customer requirements, operational effectiveness and anticipated value for money.  This led to the short-listed options, which were agreed by the Council’s Executive Committee in September.  In doing this a number of options were discounted. The reasons for this and the process we have followed are set out in the Executive report where you can find a copy of the report, including further information on the design process undertaken to date.  

The shortlisted options are described below. 

Your views are helping us to determine the options to be taken forward for further development by the professional design team. A recommendation will be made in January 2019 to the Council’s Executive of a detailed design at each site. The recommendation will seek to balance the needs and requirements of the local community, as well as affordability and technical considerations. There will be an opportunity to comment on the detailed design of the preferred scheme for each site at the planning application stage. 

Improvement Options

Castle Farm Recreation Centre

Option 1

Castle Farm option 1

We have identified one principal proposal for this site.  This is to demolish the current centre and replace it with a brand new “dry side” facility. (A “dry side” facility is a sports centre which doesn’t include a swimming pool.)

The facilities included in this option are;

  • a sports hall large enough for 6 badminton courts,
  • a fitness suite with approximately 80 ‘stations’,
  • one/ two fitness studios for group exercise classes/sessions.

This option would increase the size of the current sports hall from 4 to 6 badminton courts and so meets the requirement for additional courts, as identified by the Sport England Facility Planning Model and the District’s revised Indoor Sports Strategy (2018).

A further consideration for this site is the accommodation for the Scouts and Guides groups who use the first floor space in the centre at present.  The potential demolition of the current centre and the groups’ need for a larger facility would mean that the groups will need to move.  The Council and the Scouts and Guides groups are working together to identify whether this accommodation could be provided on the Castle Farm site or whether an alternative location can be found in Kenilworth.  If they stay on the site, the current proposal would be to provide a separate building so that the groups and the Leisure Centre could function independently.

Please note:  The Kenilworth Wardens Sports Club have aspirations to relocate their sports facilities to a site next to Castle Farm Recreation Centre. Their proposals for this move are not yet developed sufficiently to be referenced within this consultation. The Council is working closely with the Wardens on the connection between the two projects and will ensure that the two projects can work together well if required.   

Abbey Fields Swimming Pool

Two options have been identified for this site, both of which retain the existing 25 metre indoor swimming pool.

Option 1

Abbey Fields Swimming Pool option 1

This proposal is to refurbish and remodel the existing facilities, and to provide a second indoor pool. The facilities included within this option are as follows;  

  • An additional new indoor teaching pool* to replace the current outdoor pool and paddling pool.
  • Improved changing facilities
  • Improved café for pool and park customers
  • Modernisation and visual improvements to  the building
  • Improved views of the lake from the centre
  • Views opened up from within pool across the lake. 

* The additional indoor pool would be used to teach swimming to children and adults all year round. This would free up space in the 25m indoor pool for recreational swimming and other water activities, raise the number of people who can learn to swim and increase revenue generated at the site. It would provide formal water space equivalent to 1.8 lanes of a 25 metre pool which meets the shortfall identified in the IndoorSports Strategy (2018).

Option 2

Abbey Fields  Swimming Pool option 2

This proposal is to refurbish and remodel the existing facilities.  It retains the current, existing outdoor pool and paddling pool. 

The facilities included within this option are as follows;

  • Improved changing facilities
  • Improved café for pool and park customers
  • Modernisation and visual improvements of the building

Retaining the outdoor pools would allow customers to continue to swim outside during the summer months. 

With options 1  and 2 the proposal is to remodel and refurbish existing parts of the building to improve the customer experience, increase usable space, maximise income, and ensure that the building is up to modern standards and ready for another 30 years of use.

There is not enough space to retain the existing outdoor pool and paddling pool and provide a new indoor pool as well.  Whilst the outdoor pools would continue to provide a venue for recreational swimming, unfortunately they do not count towards the required additional water space as identified in the Sport England Facilities Planning Model. 

In addition to the options described above we are also seeking to understand the importance of improving the tennis courts and the former bowling pavilion.