New sports centre for Berkhamsted including six-lane swimming pool and fitness suite could be built by 2024

The target date for opening is November 2024

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:42 pm

Berkhamsted could have a new sports centre in 2024 as the project moves a step closer.

Dacorum Borough Council first started considering a refurbishment of the leisure centre in March 2019, before opting for a newly built facility.

The new centre will be built on the current Douglas Gardens site, and provide an upgrade to facilities including a new swimming pool and larger gym.

The current leisure centre site

It’s hoped that the new sports centre will be able to serve the town for the next 40 years.

The team behind the project has now completed the second stage of the process, in accordance with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) plan of work.

In a report for the council’s Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny committee next week, a timetable for when the project could be completed has been included.

If the council agrees to move onto RIBA stage three, there are hopes of submitting a planning application by April 2022.

Upon approval, this would be followed by a tender process for contractors to build the facility, with construction starting in early 2023.

The target date for opening of the new leisure centre is November 2024, which will be followed by the demolition of the current sports centre.

It’s hoped that the project will be fully completed by May 2025, although that timetable assumes there will be no significant procurement, planning or construction delays.

The report also highlights three potential options for which facilities will be included in the new sports centre.

An ‘Essential Option’ sets out the base requirements of a new sports centre, including a six lane pool and training pool, a fitness suite with 90 stations, four court sports hall and relocation of the outdoor multi-sport game area.

A ‘Desirable Option’ takes a step further with a six court sports hall, fitness suite with 120 stations, a spa zone/health suite and a splash pad.

The third is a new ‘Hybrid’ between the two other options, which would include the smaller sports hall, but the improved splash pad and spa zone. It would also explore external play options for Langley Meadow.

All three options will also include a new access road into the sports centre, and 150 car parking spaces.

At this stage the scheme will also include a seven-a-side 3G football pitch, however the project team have kept open the possibility of using the land for housing instead.

The report said, “it is acknowledged, should a suitable off-site solution for football be identified, it may allow for the area allocated for on-site football to provide a number of residential units.”

Further details on the facilities will be developed during stage three of the planning process, which will also include a public consultation.

The council have said the aim is to keep the existing sports centre open for as long as possible until the new facility is ready to minimise disruption.

However, the Happy Days Nursery and existing five-a-side football pitches will need to be closed for the duration of the construction period.

The total budget for the project is unknown, but the next two RIBA stages – Spatial Coordination and Technical Design – are expected to cost a maximum of £550,000 and £425,000 respectively.

This will account for the project team fees and survey costs required at each stage.

Councillors will confirm whether the project can move into RIBA stage three at a meeting of the Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny committee on Tuesday, November 2.