Rivermead - new leisure centre aerial view

Planning Applications Submitted for New Leisure Project

  • Two major planning applications have been submitted for Rivermead and Palmer Park sites.
  • Important next step in providing first-class leisure facilities for Reading.

PLANS to deliver modern new leisure facilities for Reading have moved forward with the submission of two major planning applications. 

The Council’s commitment to provide modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading – including the building of two modern new swimming pools – is once again gaining momentum, after the unforeseen setback of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

The applications for both Rivermead and Palmer Park are due to be considered next March.  

The Council’s chosen leisure provider, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) – who currently manage Rivermead Leisure Centre on behalf of the Council – has submitted the planning application and will operate the new leisure facilities on the Council’s behalf once they are opened. 

The planning applications provide a detailed spec of the proposed new facilities, which are set to include: 

A modern new-build leisure centre at Rivermead, offering: 

Entrance View

  • A 25m 8-lane competition pool with moveable floor and 300 spectator seats 
  • A combined teaching and diving pool 
  • Splash pads 
  • A 6-court sports hall with 250 spectator seats 
  • A 120-station gym with 3 studios 
  • A café/ info hub and soft play 

At Palmer Park, in addition to the refurbishment of the existing stadium building, there will be: 

View of Monument

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

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Health, Wellbeing & Sport, said: “I’m pleased to see these applications submitted as we work towards delivering modern, new swimming facilities for Reading. This news heralds that, despite the challenges of the past year, we are continuing to press forward in providing first-class leisure facilities a town of our size and status deserves, as well as achieving a good balance for Reading’s communities and for families.

“We are investing over £40 million in modern new leisure facilities – including a new leisure centre and two brand new swimming pools – delivered in partnership with our leisure provider, Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL). I’m also delighted that, aligning with our commitment to sustainability, these new developments will be built to BREEAM Excellent standards and renewables used where possible, as well as measures to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental efficiency. 

“Health has also always been a driving priority in this project, and now more than ever after the significant impacts of Covid-19, our ambition to inspire the communities we serve to lead healthier, more active lives and to offer targeted activities to help reduce health inequalities, is more vital than ever. 

“There is no denying this has been an incredibly tough year for everyone – and it is true to say the leisure industry as a whole has suffered both nationally and locally with the necessary restrictions that have been in place.  

We can’t pretend that delivering an ambitious project like this is going to be easy in the current financial climate, following on from a decade of reductions in Government funding and increased demand for services, and with budgets now squeezed even tighter than ever in the face of the ongoing pandemic. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the hope of a viable vaccine in the process of roll-out, and alongside our partners, we remain committed to our original vision of delivering the modern leisure facilities that Reading deserves.  

“I encourage everyone to take a look at the plans that have been submitted. This is also an opportunity to comment on the details of the facilities that are proposed. You can find out more information on the Council’s website at www.reading.gov.uk/newleisure .” 

Paul Shearman, GLL partnership manager for Reading said: "The importance of keeping physically and mentally healthy has come centre stage during the Coronavirus pandemic.  It is well documented that regular physical activity can not only help maintain a healthy body weight and lower blood pressure, but also alleviate depression; cases of which have seen a spike over recent months as a result of lockdown and reduced social interactions.

“These new, state-of-the-art facilities will provide a real boost for the town.  Offering fantastic, welcoming environments to exercise and socialise in and a huge choice of activities, meaning there really will be something for everyone.”

The planning applications for these major projects can be viewed at:  www.reading.gov.uk/planning/search-planning-applications

(search planning reference numbers: 201734 and 201735)  

People will be able to comment on the applications as part of the planning process. The applications are due to go before the Reading Council Planning Committee on Wednesday 31st March 2021. 


Notes to editors

View and download images of the new leisure facilities at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmSNGRXq