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The investment of over £29m to refurbish the leisure centres at the Walnuts and West Wickham has been agreed, with further grant funding received and works now proceeding, starting at West Wickham.

Alongside essential maintenance needed to secure the centres for the future, new state of the art facilities will be provided to build on the existing services at the centres and expand the borough’s leisure provision.

Grant funding opportunities continue to be sought to expand the scope of the works, with £6.1m recently secured from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, primarily to provide zero-carbon boiler systems with air source heat pumps at both centres. This welcome grant funding represents significant investment to support the running of both centres and deliver an improved heating system to the original plans, with specific details now being worked into the plans. This follows previously announced grant funding of £300k awarded from Sport England’s Swimming Pool Support Fund for solar panels and pool covers to reduce heat loss at West Wickham, which helps to reduce running costs.

Alongside the new heating systems, further improvements including to the pools, café and changing rooms are being delivered, with a new roof also being constructed at West Wickham.

Following the identification of structural issues which required the centre to close at West Wickham, the programme has been reorganised to bring the refurbishment works for this centre forward. This will allow the centre to reopen as soon as possible following the works in around 18 months and avoid intermediate repair costs that would have been required to reopen the centre.

The revised programme will then see works at the Walnuts commence early next year in a phased approach to allow the pool to remain open for as long as possible during the refurbishment. The pool will need to close in Summer 2025 to complete the works, which will reopen again by March 2026 when residents can then enjoy their new leisure centre.

Councillor Yvonne Bear, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing, said: “We are delivering this substantial investment in the borough’s leisure provision to ensure residents can enjoy enhanced facilities at these sites over the long term, with all the important benefits this brings to health and wellbeing. These works have been prioritised at a time of incredible pressure on council finances. It is thanks to careful management over a number of years that we are able to make this commitment now, and deliver improvements that residents want and need alongside essential works on these challenging sites, which will now get started as soon as possible.”

Improvements to facilities at the two centres are being delivered in partnership with Mytime Active, the borough’s leisure provider. New showers and lockers will be provided alongside the improved changing rooms, with pool pods and Changing Places facilities introduced to support accessibility. New studios providing power assisted equipment to support those with mobility issues or for rehabilitation are also being introduced. Both centres will have their main pools fully refurbished, with a new reconfigured competition length pool at the Walnuts being delivered in line with feedback received. This includes from swimming clubs keen to enhance their training, with this provision supporting Bromley as a hub for regional sporting activity.

Jason Stanton, CEO at Mytime Active, said: “This is fantastic news, not only for securing the future of leisure provision at these important sites, but in delivering targeted improvements to help ensure all residents have access to high-quality health and wellness facilities and support. We are always looking at what more we can provide to improve health and wellbeing across Bromley and are delighted to be partners on these works to help shape provision at the centres.”

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and is delivered by Salix for decarbonisation projects across the public sector.

Director of Programmes at Salix, Ian Rodger said: “We look forward to seeing work progress on these popular local leisure centres as well as working with the London Borough of Bromley on its net zero journey.

“The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding will help these public buildings become more energy efficient as well as providing more comfortable environments for local people to work in and enjoy.”

Further grant funding opportunities continue to be sought by the council to further enhance plans for the centres.

Alliance Leisure, a specialist company for leisure centre redevelopment, will continue to take forward the works and deliver essential works and improvements.

Regular updates will be provided about the works at both centres, including on the council website, where further information and frequently asked questions are currently available.

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Hayes (Kent) Village Association

The Association was founded in 1933 to protect the interests of residents and preserve the local amenities.

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