Nov 23, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Leisure centre makes a splash

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Work on a state of the art £7.6 million swimming pool complex in Oxford is now complete and the facilities are now open to the public. The new facility is linked to the Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, which has been renamed Leys Pools and Leisure Centre.


Along with Faulkner Brown Architects and Devin Consulting Limited, contractor Willmott Dixon delivered the scheme at Leys Pools and Leisure Centre for Oxford City Council, creating a new community facility accessible to residents of all ages.

Matthew Raybould, Operations Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “The Leys Pools and Leisure Centre is an important part of the wider regeneration taking place in Oxford and we are pleased to have delivered what is a fantastic new facility for the local community.

“The new leisure centre has been constructed with sustainability at the forefront of our minds, and we have achieved a BREEAM rating of very good EPC A, which is illustrative of the sustainability credentials of the building – for example, we have included solar panels as part of the design.”

The project began with the demolition of the existing community hall, which was followed by the construction of the new build 25m eight-lane competition standard swimming pool with moveable floor. The centre also includes a learner pool and children’s play pool, a sauna, spectator seating, wet side changing rooms and an associated plant room.

Elsewhere there is a sports hall, a soft play area, an indoor cycling studio, an exercise studio, a crèche, a cafe and an extended gym with all new equipment.

FT Leisure designed, supplied and installed the water treatment and filtration systems for the three pools as well as a number of fun features for the toddlers’ splash pool, including floor water geysers, a mushroom feature, an arch spray, two air bubble rings and three water fountains. The filtration systems were traditional medium rate sand filtration combined with chlorine dosing, pH control, filter coagulation and UV sterilisation.

In addition, FT Leisure designed and installed a 25 x 8.5m moveable floor system complete with protective ramp. This configuration where the moveable floor runs down the length of the pool whilst not very common, offers great flexibility to operators. The moveable floor can be in use at shallower depths for one activity at the same time as full 25-metre recreational swimming takes place in the remaining lanes.

FT Leisure specialises in the provision of innovative products and professional technical services to the commercial, municipal and private swimming pool industries. Their range of services includes the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and/or refurbishment and maintenance of water treatment and filtration systems, moveable floors, booms and disabled access platforms, ozone and UV sterilisation, wave machines and leisure water features.

This is the latest step in the city council’s modernisation and improvement programme for public leisure facilities, following on from the improvements at Barton and Ferry Leisure Centres and the Ice Rink locally.

Councillor Mike Rowley, board member for leisure contract and community partnership grant at Oxford City Council, said: “The Leys Pools and Leisure Centre is the centrepiece of our modernisation programme for the city’s leisure facilities.

“I am delighted to see this project reach completion, but even more so, by the resounding reception it has received from the community as evidenced by the 12,000 people who attended its grand opening weekend. The pool is a wonderful facility for residents and will go a long way in encouraging more people to embrace healthy and physically active lifestyles.”

Formerly known as Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre, the complex has been re-named as Leys Pools & Leisure Centre, and incorporates a wide range of adaptations to support users with disabilities and also offers more parking on site than its predecessor.

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