Work to start on leisure centre revamp
Archived press release
Date Published: 03/10/11
Artist impression of Aqua Vale redevelopment
The major refurbishment of Aylesbury’s Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre is set to get underway – an exciting revamp which will see current facilities upgraded and new ones introduced.
Contractor Willmott Dixon Construction will be on site this week to prepare for the start of the £6.45 million project, which will greatly enhance the 10-year-old leisure centre and provide even better facilities for customers.
The improvement programme is a major part of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s multi-million pound regeneration plans for the town.
The phased programme of works is scheduled to be completed in September 2012 and the centre will remain open whilst the works are underway.
During phase one of the scheduled improvements, a new retractable roof will be fitted to the outdoor pool to offer both indoor and outdoor use and new wet and dry-side changing rooms will also be created. The café will be relocated to the front of the building to enable park users to access the facility and the reception area and fitness suite will be extended to about double their current size.
Throughout the first phase, the main entrance to the leisure centre will be relocated with a temporary reception situated close to the car park.
Customers should note that the café and outdoor pool are now closed to allow the contractor to begin enabling works. The café and outdoor pool will reopen in 2012. Vending machines will continue to operate throughout the development offering a variety of drinks and snacks.
Further work is scheduled for phase two of this improvement programme, which is due to begin in April 2012. In total, work within the second phase will take around 14 weeks and will see the refurbishment of the gym and changing village and a new flume installed.
The leisure centre car park will be altered, within its existing footprint, to provide 40 additional parking spaces, increasing the number to 140 overall.
A combined heat and power unit will be installed to help reduce the centre’s carbon footprint. The system will run off natural gas and produce electricity on site to power the centre. This will reduce the centre’s running costs and the expense of buying in electricity from the National Grid.
The competition pool and indoor leisure area will remain open to the public during the construction works. Disruption for centre users will be minimised as far as it can be to accommodate the works with reduced changing areas and occasional gym and dance studio closure days.
Councillor David Thompson, Cabinet Member for Leisure, said: “We are delighted that work is about to get underway on this project, which is a major investment for AVDC and one which will ensure the long term future of this popular leisure centre.
“We apologise for the disruption that will inevitably take place, but can assure customers that we will keep it to a minimum. The centre will be open for business, though, so I encourage people to continue to use the facilities – and we thank them for their patience and understanding while the work is carried out. The refurbishment work demonstrates our commitment to providing good quality sport and leisure facilities in Aylesbury Vale and I look forward to seeing the new look centre.”
The contractor, Willmott Dixon Construction, has more than 25 years of experience in delivering leisure and culture facilities and in the last decade has built over 100 pools and 70 leisure facilities. The company has constructed a 50m Olympic training pool at the University of Surrey and one of its most recent projects is the international pool in Corby, which will also be a training venue in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.
Chris Tredget, Managing Director, Willmott Dixon, said: “I have a personal interest and involvement in the project, not only for ensuring it is an outstanding success but also on a more personal level, as I was part of the original team that built the existing centre 10 years ago. We’ll be doing everything we can to make the work as painless as possible for the centre users and staff and look forward to getting the project fully underway in the next few days.”
The district council-owned leisure centre opened in 2001 and attracts around 500,000 visitors each year. The Aylesbury Vale Community Trust, an independent not-for-profit organisation, is responsible for the management and delivery of the facility.
Miles Buckinghamshire, Chairman of the Aylesbury Vale Community Trust, said: "We are delighted that the redevelopment of Aqua Vale is now underway and to be involved in the redevelopment process. In the short term there will be some disruption to the services we are able to offer, however we are an extremely dedicated and customer focussed organisation and will do our utmost to ensure that this is kept to a minimum; working closely with Willmott Dixon we will be providing regular updates to ensure our customers are kept fully informed of the redevelopment progress and any changes that we have to make to our programme of activities. As we embark on the redevelopment we look forward to the future, with a leisure facility that will provide additional benefits to our customers.”
Artists’ impressions of what the facilities will look like when the work has been completed will be on display in the centre. Regular updates will also be available at www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/aquavaleplans