Reading’s Rivermead Leisure Centre is to be replaced by a more modern development and a new swimming pool built at Palmer Park following the award of a new contract by the council.

Reading Borough Council’s policy committee agreed on Monday, January 20, to award a 25-year contract to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) to design, build, operate and run its leisure service.

The award is part of a £40 million investment in leisure by the authority which will see Rivermead, built in 1988, demolished and replaced by the new modern leisure development and a new pool built next to Palmer Park stadium.

Planning applications will be submitted once the Palmer Park framework document is approved by the council, which is likely to be in February.

The two schemes will result in two 25-metre swimming pools to replace Arthur Hill, which closed in 2016, and Central pool, which closed in 2018.

The new contract includes delivering a 25m, six-lane community pool at Palmer Park by early 2022 and a 25m eight-lane competition pool with movable floor at Rivermead, by summer 2022.

Rivermead will also have:
* Spectator seats for 300 people
* A combined teaching and diving pool with moveable floor
* Splash pads
* A six-court sports hall with 250 spectator seats
* A 120-station gym with three studios
* A café/ information hub with soft play

At Palmer Park, in addition to the new pool, there will be:
* A refurbishment of the existing stadium building
* A 100-station gym with three studios
* A junior activity zone/soft play facility with party rooms
* A new café and information hub

There will also be improvements at Meadway sports centre in Tilehurst and South Reading Leisure Centre in Whitley will get new equipment and gym space.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading Borough Council’s lead member for sport, said: “We were fortunate to receive extremely strong and credible bids from very professional and well-respected leisure providers.

“We rigorously weighed up these options and made the final decision on the bid we are confident will deliver the best possible outcome for families and residents who live in Reading.”

Paul Shearman, GLL partnership manager for Reading, said: “This major commitment to build new and upgrade facilities will mean that the council’s leisure offer will be completely transformed over the coming years. As a charitable social enterprise, focussed on improving, growing participation and reaching out to Reading’s community, we will ensure there really will be something for everyone regardless of age, fitness level or income.”

The contract is expected to officially begin in Spring 2020.

* Images:

Above: The new Rivermead
Below 1: The new Rivermead
Below 2 & 3: The new Palmer Park pool

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