First look at new Kingston leisure centre designs after plans went £35m over budget

The new design for the planned replacement of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Kingston town centre
-Credit: (Image: Kingston Council)

Designs for a new leisure centre in South London have finally been revealed, after the original plans were scrapped for being too expensive. The new facility is set to replace the Kingfisher Leisure Centre in Kingston town centre, which shut in 2019 after it was decided repairs to fix the roof would cost more than £5million.

Kingston Council demolished the Kingfisher in late 2022 and previously said its replacement would be built on the same site by late 2024. But it scrapped these plans last year after a tendering process to appoint a contractor for the project returned a figure of £79.5m - much higher than its approved budget of £44.5m. A council report in March said the estimated cost of the revised scheme is £44.9m, although this is subject to change as it progresses.

The authority confirmed in January it had appointed Alliance Leisure to oversee the revised project, working with architects Roberts Limbrick. It has now unveiled new designs from Roberts Limbrick for the planned leisure centre, in a two-storey building, and announced Pellikaan as its construction partner for the project.

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The old Kingfisher Leisure Centre site, Fairfield Road, Kingston
The Kingfisher was demolished in late 2022 -Credit:Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon

The revised plans include an eight-lane swimming pool with seating for 150 spectators and a teaching pool, a four-court sports hall, two squash courts, a gym, group cycling studio and three studio spaces. It is also set to have a spa suite with a sauna and steam room, café, upgraded play area in Fairfield East and new pedestrian routes.

The council said it has brought Pellikaan on board much earlier in a 'significant change from the previous project' to give 'better assurances around costs and programme as the project progresses to completion'. The authority added it has made 'swift progress to design a new, affordable leisure centre for Kingston town centre'.

The scheme has been beset by further delays since the unveiling of the new designs, however, due to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing a general election will take place on July 4. The council said it must follow 'strict rules' around the use of resources in the period leading up to the election, which means it has postponed events it had scheduled to begin on May 30 giving residents the chance to provide feedback on the new designs.

Original designs for the replacement of Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Fairfield Road, Kingston
Original designs for the new leisure centre in Kingston -Credit:Kingston Council

It means online consultation on the new designs will instead begin on July 8 and the engagement events will take place the following week. The council will confirm the revised dates and how to get involved after the general election has taken place.

Lib Dem councillor Alison Holt, portfolio holder for leisure, said the unveiling of the new designs and appointment of a construction partner are 'significant milestones in delivering a leisure centre that meets the highest standards of quality, sustainability and accessibility'. She said the council is 'going through all of the necessary processes to bring the project forward as quickly as possible'.

The council will appoint a leisure operator to manage the facility on its behalf. An opening date is set to be announced in due course.

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