More than 4000 residents have participated in the final round of “engagement talks” about Kingston’s new leisure centre, according to Kingston Council.
The council has been seeking feedback on the project to replace the Kingfisher leisure centre since November 15. Residents were asked their opinion on plans by architects FaulknerBrowns through a survey and drop-in events.
“Already over 4000 residents have engaged in the consultation,” said councillor John Sweeney, portfolio holder for business and leisure. “The council is very keen residents are informed and will continue to do so throughout the project.”
Sweeney said feedback had already led to architects introducing a splash pool (a pool which connects to a water slide), and improvements to the climbing wall. Feedback is also looking for ways to cater facilities to local sports teams.
Another consideration for the new leisure centre is accessibility, which Sweeney said is being achieved through braille tactile signs on lifts and staircases, and hoists on pools.
He said the new leisure centre would be more sustainable than the Kingfisher in several ways, including energy efficiency.
“The pools’ adjustable floors are raised at night and act as a canopy over the water preserving heat and reducing the energy required to run it,” he said.
Plans are set to be finalised in February 2022.
The call for feedback comes amid criticism of council leader Andreas Kirsch’s predecessor Caroline Kerr for being uncommunicative. Conservative councillor Ian George said that Kerr “actively withheld important information”, which prevented council scrutiny.
“A brand-new leisure centre for Kingston would of course be great,” he said. “But the Lib Dems are being so secretive about where the money is coming from, and what agreements they have come to with big developers.”
JK Doran, the Liberal Democrats’ campaigns and communications manager, said: “We expect to have a final cost estimate on the new leisure centre after the third phase of engagement with local residents which closes at the end of December, though in-line with good financial practices, we’ve allocated a provisional allocation to the capital expenditure budget of £40 million.”
Doran also said the Lib Dems “are fully committed” to a 2024 opening date.
Residents can have their say on the leisure centre here.