Riverside Leisure Centre was commissioned to provide Chelmsford’s residents with access to crucial, fit-for-purpose facilities to encourage the community to lead healthy, active lives.
The new state-of-the-art leisure centre replaces Chelmsford’s former leisure complex, which was built in the early 1960s. This facility was outdated in terms of its design, facilities and energy efficiency, and it was unable to meet the future demand of the growing city.
We worked closely with the client and design teams to ensure that the requirements were fully understood, could be practically achieved and that the information was available and communicated to allow the programme to be met. Health and Safety was at the forefront of the project planning.
Riverside Leisure Centre has transformed Chelmsford’s sports and leisure provision. Improving residents’ health and wellbeing was at the heart of the scheme’s design, ensuring that everyone would have safe access to all facilities.
Along with the competition-standard swimming pool – which is one of only three in the country with its dimensions – facilities include: a toddler sensory splash zone and flume; a 130-station gym; health and fitness studios; a crèche and soft play areas; improved changing rooms; a spacious reception foyer; and an airy cafe overlooking the nearby River Chelmer. There is also storage space for around 80 bikes in a bid to encourage greener and healthier methods of travel.
All the facilities were designed to ensure easy access for people with disabilities. This was key from the outset and the client instigated an access forum to ensure the widest possible consultation during the design and considered all aspects from approach, layout and facilities mix.
The complex has already seen its admissions increase by approximately 25% since it opened in June 2019 – and is on track for one million visits in its first operational year. The amount of memberships has also increased by 73% since opening.
A regular user of the centre said: “I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate you on making Chelmsford swimming so accessible now for wheelchair users. My 14 year old son is profound special needs and the well-equipped changing places space and wheelchair lift has meant that a trip swimming is a delight.”
Riverside has a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating, which puts the leisure complex in the top 25 per cent of new non-domestic buildings in the UK for environmentally friendly design. It was important to provide high-quality facilities that would benefit the community for decades to come, while also reducing running costs and minimising its environmental impact.
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