Artist's impression of the new community pool at Palmer Park

Construction of new community pool at Palmer Park Begins

  • Physical work on the modern new 25 metre, 6-lane pool at Palmer Park to begin as part of Phase 2
  • The new car park area is complete

MAJOR work to construct a modern new 25 metre, 6-lane community pool at Palmer Park is set to begin, as part of the second phase of the project.

Construction on the new pool is the next key milestone in the Council’s £40M investment in modern leisure facilities for the town, including delivering two brand new pools, a modern leisure centre and improvements to existing leisure facilities, by spring 2023.

It follows the first phase of works which began in August to create the new overflow carpark / coach drop off, which is now ready for public use.

New car park area

From the end of this week, as well as major work beginning on the construction of the new swimming pool, work also begins on changes to the existing entrance and the creation of the new café and information hub space.

The new community pool and facilities will open to the public in late 2022. At Palmer Park, in addition to the refurbishment of the existing stadium building, there will be:

  • A new 25 metre, 6-lane community pool
  • A 100-station gym
  • An activity zone for children with party rooms
  • And a new café and information hub.

Palmer Park work

With the new overflow carpark / coach drop off, which is now in use, visitors should note new parking charges will apply from 1 November to help manage capacity at the parking area. The first 3 hours will be free for leisure users (cars must be registered) and charged at 50p per hour thereafter (with a 7-hours max stay). There will be no parking permitted between midnight to 6 am. Signage will be in place at the car park detailing these changes.

The recycling bank facilities at this location are still available but have moved to a new location just before entering the new car park.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Sport, said: “I’m delighted that work on the new leisure facilities at Palmer Park is gathering pace and that physical construction of the new pool will begin very shortly.

“It is exciting times to see the building of our new pools and leisure centre progressing. This continues to provide residents with tangible evidence of our commitment to delivering the new facilities.

“A recently published report* by Swim England highlighted the dramatic decline in (public) swimming pool facilities (as a result of English Council’s funding shortfalls,) and predicted a fall of 40 per cent by 2030. I’m pleased to say, with our new facilities on track, Reading will thankfully buck this trend. Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, the Council and our leisure partners, GLL, remain fully committed to delivering the modern leisure facilities a town of our size and status deserves. By spring 2023, Reading will boast a 25m 8-lane competition pool with dedicated diving provision at Rivermead and by winter 2022 a brand new 25m 6-lane community pool at Palmer Park, linked to existing sports facilities – combining the benefits of a sizable pool, velodrome and athletics stadium all in one accessible location – delivering a fairly unique facility in the region and putting Reading firmly on the map as a top sports destination.

“As well as the improved facilities across all leisure sites being delivered over the next two years, there will also be a drive to increase activity, health and wellbeing across the borough, with weight management courses, cardiac and cancer rehabilitation and targeted work in the community to reach those in most need and work towards reducing health inequalities.”

The plans for the community pool at Palmer Park, independently assessed to achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating, have been submitted to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) this month, which is the longest established environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings and evidence the pool will be built to high levels of sustainable design and energy usage.

Councillor Hoskin added: “As a Council, taking action on the climate emergency is a top priority for us. The new centres will be constructed to BREEAM Excellent standards. Measures to reduce carbon emissions, use renewables and improve environmental efficiency will hopefully make Reading’s leisure facilities as environmentally friendly as possible.”

Paul Shearman, GLL’s Partnership Manager for Reading said: “This is an exciting second step on the road to delivering state-of-the-art leisure facilities to the people of Reading.

“The benefits that these new and updated facilities will offer the local community are huge.  The pandemic has highlighted the importance of keeping physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

“Reading’s new and upgraded leisure provision will offer an inviting and welcoming environment, for all local residents to enjoy, in addition to enabling us to provide dedicated courses and activities that encourage better health and wellbeing.”

Gert-Jan Peeters, director of Pellikaan UK, said: “It is good to see part of the new parking facilities complete already and we are pleased that we can now move on with Phase 2. The development of the plans, in liaison with Reading Borough Council and operator GLL, is going very well and we are confident that the centre will be a welcome addition for the local community next year.”

Work started on the Rivermead site on 31 August. The new Rivermead facilities will include a new leisure centre with a 25m 8-lane competition pool and a combined teaching and diving pool. Work will start shortly on improvements at South Reading Leisure Centre and in the new year at Meadway Leisure Centre.

For regular updates on the leisure project visit  or follow the Council on social media @ReadingCouncil Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or GLL at @Better_Reading

* Fears almost 2,000 pools could be lost forever by end of decade (