Work to strip and demolish the former Carnival Pool and Fitness Centre in Wokingham is continuing at pace and signals the start of the final phase of Wokingham Borough Council’s ambitious regeneration scheme in the town.
The former centre will be replaced with a multi-million pound complex featuring a new larger leisure centre and library and it will take around two years to complete.
The new complex 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; 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.
Appointment of contractors
Back in April, Pellikaan Construction Ltd was appointed as the borough council’s contractor to build the new flagship complex. Pellikaan was chosen following a robust public tender process. The company, which built the council’s new £14million Bulmershe Leisure Centre in Woodley, has also designed and built more than 900 sports and leisure centres for local authorities, as well as private clients, in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
Demolition work is being carried out on behalf of the council by J Mould (Reading) who was appointed in April. Teams working on site are following the latest advice from the Construction Leadership Council, including working with required social distancing, as well as following guidance on site access, handwashing, cleaning and avoiding close working.
It is anticipated the demolition work will be completed by summer 2020 and construction work on the new complex will start in autumn 2020. The leisure facilities in the new complex will be run by the borough council’s new partner Places Leisure.
Although currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. More design work will take place closer to the move to look in detail at how the space will be laid out internally.
Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “Demolishing the former centre is an important milestone in our ambitious project. Investing not only in sport and leisure but our library service is a priority for the council. We are also looking to ensure we tackle the climate emergency. In the coming weeks we will be looking at ways we could potentially tweak the design for the new complex to improve the energy efficiency of the building and minimise carbon emissions.”
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, executive member for regeneration, said: “As we enter this last phase of the regeneration it’s fantastic to be able to look back at how much has been achieved in the last few years. The regeneration is all about making sure we deliver great facilities for our residents to enjoy and we are sure everyone will love the new complex when it opens in 2022.
Richard van Emmerik, director of Pellikaan Construction Ltd, said: “We’re very pleased to have been selected for the new design and build leisure centre and library at this great location in Wokingham. We look forward to building on the good relationship with Wokingham Borough Council, Faithful and Gould and others involved. We are currently fine tuning the detailed design to enhance the energy efficiency of the building and reduce carbon emissions. Our project team will be ready to commence construction of this flagship centre this autumn as originally planned.’’
Richard Harris, demolition manager at J Mould (Reading) said: “We are very pleased to be working with Wokingham Borough Council again delivering the demolition phase of this project. Working relationships forged during the redevelopment of Bulmershe Leisure Centre have certainly helped to date in the smooth running and delivery of this project. Living locally its always satisfying to see our company delivering high profile jobs for local authorities.”