With demolition of the former Carnival Pool and surrounding buildings now complete, the next phase of the brand new multi-million pound leisure and library complex starts in earnest.
Wokingham Borough Council’s building contractor Pellikaan Construction Ltd moved onto site this week to start construction on the new flagship facilities.
The new centre will feature two swimming pools (a six-lane 25m pool and teaching pool with moveable depth floor and splash pad); a larger fitness suite and specialist group cycling studio; large studios; a four-court sports hall which can convert into a 400 seat performance venue; a spa, a health and wellbeing centre; larger café; and viewing areas. There will also be a large library including space for events and activities, a lending library, fun children’s zone and space for exhibitions. This is the final stage of the borough council’s ambitious regeneration scheme in the town.
The next few weeks will see the start of excavation works to enable to the pool shells to take place, as well as a range of other preparation activities. Pellikaan will be using ‘super silenced’ compressor and specific pneumatic tools that have been specially designed to reduce noise and vibration on the site.
The borough council has also received planning permission for minor changes to the complex’s design which, will improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
In addition to rationalizing the internal layouts and introducing first floors into some areas that were previously shown as double height spaces, the updated designs also include new air source heat pumps and additional roof-mounted solar panels alongside other changes to improve performance and reduce carbon emissions.
Although the footprint of the complex will reduce slightly from what was previously approved, the energy efficiency of the building will be significantly improved, without compromising the leisure centre facilities. The footprint of the library remains the same.
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for regeneration, said: “I hope that residents will share in my excitement in being able to see the construction team starting on site at Carnival. We are now turning plans on paper into a spectacular facility for the final part of the Wokingham town centre regeneration scheme. The complex will offer fantastic facilities and is a result of many years of consultation with residents and businesses around the types of leisure and community amenities they would like to see locally. I can’t wait to see progress during the coming months and bring you further updates as the project progresses.”
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, added: “Once completed this will be a fantastic facility for all the borough’s residents. In several months’ time we will start to see the complex really take shape. Having the library and the leisure centre in the same building is a wonderful idea that will encourage more people to visit both of these excellent services that we know are so important to our residents.
“We are working once again with Pellikaan Construction Ltd, who built our brand new £14million Bulmershe Leisure Centre in Woodley, which opened in August, and is another fantastic facility in our borough.”
Richard van Emmerik, director of Pellikaan Construction Ltd, said “We are really pleased to be involved with the design and construction of this landmark building. This will be our third project for Wokingham Borough Council and we are looking forward to continue our excellent working relationship.
“Next month we will start with the piling works followed by the construction of the pool shells. Early next year we will commence with the steel structure so everyone can see the building taking shape very shortly”.
The leisure facilities will be run by the borough council’s partner Places Leisure. Wokingham Library will continue to be based in its current location in Denmark Street until the new complex is complete and ready to move into.