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Help us shape the cultural use of the new flagship Carnival Hub leisure and library complex

Help us shape the cultural use of the new flagship Carnival Hub leisure and library complex

20 May 2021
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Construction of the brand new multi-million pound leisure and library complex is really gathering pace since the start of the steel frames being erected. The centre has been designed to support local cultural ambitions with groups having the opportunity to hire spaces for cultural and community events when the leisure facilities and library is not in use. 

In order to facilitate this the council has started talking to a range of local groups who might be interested in using the space to explore levels of demand, help with detailed design for the fit out and to consider what extra equipment might need to be provided to support events. 

Work on site is progressing quickly on the frame and roof decks, along with the lift shafts and foundations for the remaining structure. Work has also started on the new pools and the infrastructure required to service them. 

The new Carnival Hub 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 which can also be used for events; a four-court sports hall which can convert into a performance venue with bleacher seating; a spa, long term health gym; 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 lots more happening, as the steel frame continues to go up and more sections of the roof deck are installed, giving people a glimpse of the larger centre which will open next year. Alongside this there will be lots of groundworks going on to prepare the site for installation of new services and a sub-station later in the year. 

“It is great to see the progress being made at Carnival Hub and it is exciting to see the building starting to take shape. With the steel frame going up, changes to the site will be really visible now.” Said, Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure. “We’re significantly investing in sport and leisure facilities in the Wokingham Borough with more than than £50million already committed to a range of facilities such as Carnival Hub, Cantley and Bulmershe Leisure centre, which opened last year. 

“As a Council we’re keen to create opportunities for people to be active and stay healthy as we know how important exercise is in improving wellbeing. We also recognise the importance of providing a large indoor space to accommodate other events and activities required by the community and are pleased to be creating this here at the Carnival Hub”.

“Whilst this is primarily a leisure centre and library the flexible fit out of the sports hall and studio spaces will be key in supporting wider cultural use for events such as performances, lectures or exhibitions. This is why we are already talking to several local organisations, and will be emailing others who previously took part in our cultural engagements, with details of a survey for them to complete. We’d encourage them to take part as this is their opportunity to help us better understand their needs as well as the level of demand for cultural spaces locally.”

In addition to those being contacted directly, the survey is also open to any groups who might be interested in running large events or activities at the Carnival Hub. The survey can be found by searching for current consultations on the council’s website www.wokingham.gov.uk. Organisations have until Sunday 13 June to complete.  

Feedback from this survey will be used to help understand demand and allocate appropriate time in the timetable for cultural events. It will also help guide the detailed fit out design and assess whether there is sufficient demand to purchase a basic package of equipment, such as modular staging and lighting, to make it easier for groups to use the space. 

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.

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