Wokingham Leisure Centre at Carnival Hub in central Wokingham, has officially opened to the public.
Designed by HLM Architects and built by Pellikaan Construction, the new centre features two swimming pools, gym area, a variety of large fitness studios, specialist group cycling room, a spa, health and wellbeing centre (with sauna and steam room), a four-court sports hall that can also be used as a 400-seat performance venue, viewing gallery and a café at the main entrance.
The multi-million-pound Carnival Hub community complex forms part of the second and final phase of the Wokingham town centre regeneration vision to meet the evolving needs and preferences of residents and visitors. The heart of the site, which replaces an ageing 1990s building that was in need of constant repair, brings together a new leisure facility and a new library that is currently undergoing fit-out.
Transforming the previously dark, oppressive and out of date atmosphere, the new leisure centre offers an appealing, light and airy space that is accessible to all. It features the main six-lane 25m pool – with raised spectator seating along its entire length – as well as a teaching pool with moveable depth floor and a children’s splash pad with fountains and water jets. Designed in line with Sport England standards, the pools represent a transformational upgrade for both the local community and Wokingham’s swimming training and competition facilities.
The complex is the result of years of consultations with local residents and businesses to ensure that it aligned with what they hoped to see in a new leisure facility. In approaching the designs, HLM worked with Wokingham Borough Council to help support its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions, maximise energy efficiency and lower operating costs. Additional revisions included new air source heat pumps and solar panels, creating one of the UK’s most energy-efficient leisure centres and driving vastly improved performance across the site, which has achieved massive carbon reductions of 117 per cent and surpassed government targets.
“It’s exciting to see this fantastic project come to life after 18 months of works. The flagship new leisure centre and library complex in the centre of Wokingham will regenerate the local area and public realm, creating a new focal point for the community,” said Claire Wakelin, HLM London Studio director.
“A major design objective for us was to deliver an exceptional, sustainable and modern facility within the vibrant Carnival Hub for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come. The centre provides an enhanced offering and a welcoming environment where people can have fun, recharge, and where sporting fans can train and compete. Importantly, it is designed with flexibility in mind to accommodate the wide range of needs and activities of the local area, also incorporating a large space for cultural use.”