READING could soon see two new swimming pools and other major additions to sports facilities, with planning applications submitted for both Rivermead and Palmer Park leisure centres.

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

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers and sports enthusiasts in the town, which includes the building of two modern swimming pools.

Man who incited sexual abuse of child jailed for 11 months

The proposals are once again gaining momentum after the unforeseen setback of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the applications for both Rivermead and Palmer Park are due to be considered next March.

RBC'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 once they are opened. 

The planning applications provide a detailed spec of the proposed new facilities, which are set to include a new-build leisure centre at Rivermead, offering: 

  • 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

    Reading Chronicle: RivermeadRivermead

    At Palmer Park, in addition to the refurbishment of the existing stadium building, there will be: 
  • A modern new 25 metre, 6-lane community pool 
  • A 100-station gym with three studios 
  • An activity zone for children with party rooms
  • A new café and information hub

    Reading Chronicle: Palmer ParkPalmer Park

Councillor Graeme Hoskin, RBC's lead councillor for Health, Wellbeing and 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. 

Reading Chronicle: Palmer ParkPalmer Park

"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."

READ MORE: The five PRICIEST streets in Reading - and how much the houses cost

Cllr Hoskin added that the ambitious project will be tough in the current financial climate, but said there is a light at the end of the tunnel with hope of the viable vaccine.

To look at the submitted plans, click here.

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.

Reading Chronicle: Palmer ParkPalmer Park

"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."

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