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Date published: 8th February 2021
North Norfolk District Council is seeking to take advantage of the current closure of the Splash Leisure Centre in Sheringham to bring forward the completion of its replacement.
The uncertainty surrounding the date of the reopening of leisure centres in England, and the inevitable timescale before they can operate at full capacity, has led North Norfolk District Council to conclude that this hiatus should be used to speed up the completion of the new Sheringham Leisure Centre by demolishing the Splash earlier than had originally been intended.
Excellent progress has been made on the new development, despite the many interruptions of the past year. The new building is scheduled for completion in August this year; however, the demolition of the Splash had not originally been scheduled until after the new centre had opened, in order to provide continuity for users. This would have meant that the car park and landscaping would not have been completed until the end of November 2021.
By reprogramming the works, so that the demolition can take place in parallel with the completion of the new building, Construction company Metnor can save several months on the current plan. Given that it is unlikely that the Splash would be in use (certainly not to capacity) for much of that time, Everyone Active, which operates the centre for North Norfolk District Council, is wholly supportive of this approach. The Council has therefore decided to fast-track the completion of the new leisure centre, so that the whole site, including the car park, will be open to local people and visitors this summer.
Everyone Active has done an excellent job of maintaining the operation of the Splash pool, fitness suite and exercise studios, when they have been allowed to open since July 2020, but with the restrictions of social distancing, enhanced cleansing and the interruptions of intermittent lockdowns, that has been increasingly challenging. The costs and the resources needed to remobilise the facility after the current lockdown (whenever that is) are not justified for the short period for which it is likely to be open and the reduced capacity it will inevitably have. The building’s running costs alone for the four-month period (were it to operate from April to July) would amount to some £51,000 and the costs of remobilising the building equate to around £6,500.
North Norfolk District Council Cabinet member, Cllr Virginia Gay, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Wellbeing & Culture said:
“Getting the new leisure centre all completed in time for the main summer season would be a fantastic way of celebrating the hopeful return to normality after such a long period of time.”
“Maintaining the provision of swimming, sport and fitness facilities at the Splash site has been a priority for the Council since the inception of the new leisure centre. The new facility was designed to be built at the front of the Splash site in order to ensure there was continual access to such facilities for local people. That approach, however, did mean that the car parking provision for the new centre would be compromised for the first few months of its operation; but this was considered to be a worthy sacrifice to avoid a temporary loss of this valuable asset. Given that the Splash now seems unlikely to be used to any great extent during the run up to the completion of the new leisure centre, it makes perfect sense to make best use of that time to bring forward the completion date.”
Dan Hicks, Area Manager for Everyone Active added:
“The Splash Leisure centre plays an important role in the health and fitness of local residents. Our members and customers have been extremely loyal but the disruptions and intermittent closures over the past 10 months have been frustrating to them and it has been challenging for staff managing the centre. With uncertainty about when the centre might be able to return to full use, we are keen to use this time to bring forward the completion of the new Leisure Centre so that we can all plan with optimism for offering a-state-of-the-art swimming pool, gym and fitness suite in August. All in all, this is the best solution for all parties, not least the community who will now get a fantastic new facility early! We are really excited about the prospect of the whole site being completed in the summer and our dedicated team will do everything it can to help manage the transition. Meanwhile we continue to promote our on-line fitness package to help keep our customers active in their own homes.”
Carl Ellis, Project Manager for construction company Metnor said:
“We are proud of the progress we have been able to make on site, despite the complexities imposed by the pandemic. We are pleased to be able bring a silver lining, taking advantage of the fact that the Splash cannot open by rearranging the works programme to facilitate the earlier completion of the new leisure centre, its car park and landscaping. We are constantly trying to find ways to innovate and have worked closely with North Norfolk District Council and Everyone Active throughout, in order to deliver the outcomes they want. This opportunity will give us a larger site area in which to work, so we will be better able to fast-track certain elements of the build programme and help overcome some of the constraints we currently face.”
The new Sheringham Leisure Centre will have a 6-lane, 25m main pool, a 13m x 8m learner pool with moveable floor, a splash pad with water play features and two community rooms for flexible use. There will be a café area on the ground floor with spectator viewing into the pool. Upstairs there will be a fifty station health & fitness suite, a dance/ activities studio covering 200sqm, a spinning studio 96sqm all of which will enable twice as many people to participate in sport and exercise than can currently at the Splash.
The building has been designed to Sport England’s accessibility standards to ensure as many people as possible can access the wide mix of facilities.
The new leisure centre has been designed to be highly energy efficient, with state of the art windows and doors to prevent heat loss and high performance insulation for hot water pipework, as well as ‘presence/absence detection’ lights for areas with limited use. It incorporates renewable energy systems such as solar thermal collectors for water heating and air source heat pumps.
The Splash Tropical Leisure Pool was opened on 11th May 1988 by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales. The commemorative plaque marking that event has been removed from the building and will be presented to Sheringham Museum.
Photo credit: Archant
The Splash is beyond its design life and has for some time been showing signs of age. It is highly inefficient and no longer responds to the health and wellbeing needs of the local population or meets the expectations of customers some 33 years after its construction. Features of this much loved local landmark are evident in the design of new building, which it is hoped will help many more generations to be able to remain fit, healthy and happy in the future, with a far lower carbon footprint.
The name and logo for the new Leisure Centre will be revealed in the coming months as the building nears completion. Anyone interested in tracking the progress on site can view the time lapse video hosted on the Council’s website.
Last updated: 8th February 2021