Chiltern Pools - FAQs
Why is Chiltern District Council considering replacing Chiltern Pools?
Chiltern Pools was built in 1964 and is over 50 years old. Its structural condition and aged design means that it will be uneconomical to operate beyond 2022. Replacement facilities for the leisure centre and community association, library and youth club building are being considered as part of a redevelopment of the site and to reduce long term operating costs.
What facilities are being proposed?
· 8-lane 25 metre swimming pool with viewing areas
· Diving / teaching pool alongside a children's splash pad area
· Four badminton court sports hall
· Two squash courts
· Climbing wall
· Children's soft play area and clip 'n' climb
· Café area
· Pool Spectator area
· Exercise Studios
· 150 station gym
· Community centre (events/theatre space and community meeting spaces)
Why are you proposing these facilities?
In 2016 the Council undertook an independent leisure facilities study which identified the key facilities Chiltern District Council should provide when the existing Chiltern Pools leisure centre closes. Background
Existing facility users (Amersham Community Association, Lindfield Nursery, Amersham Youth Club, Gateway Club, Amersham U3A and Amersham Swimming/Diving Club) are supportive of replacing the existing aging buildings with a purpose built and fit for purpose centre.
When will the new leisure/community facility be built?
A specific date has not been set as the Council is still to finalise the design brief, business plan and formally agree to submit for planning permission. The Council has consulted with residents and overall there has been very positive feedback for the proposal of developing a new leisure/community status building for Amersham and the proposed range facilities.
Will appropriate infrastructure (car parks) be provided and what will happen to the existing barn buildings?
If the project progresses the car park and the retention of the barns will be key considerations and addressed through the planning process. The proposed development will provide a minimum of 270 car parking spaces with the potential to provide additional temporary car park spaces on the existing leisure centre site. There will be no impact on the historic barn buildings and indeed it is proposed to further enhance the barn buildings by surrounding them in natural green landscaping.
How much will the facility cost and will this affect my Council Tax bill?
The proposed project will require significant capital investment, if progressed it will be self-funding with no additional cost to council tax payers. Chiltern District Council will also be seeking to attract external funding towards the project from a range of agencies including Sport National Governing Bodies and Sport England.
Are there any images available of the proposed new facility?
Following the land swap consultation Land swap public consultation survey results 2017 further work is currently being undertaken on the design to address issues raised. A new website specifically for the new centre will be developed shortly and provide ongoing up-to-date project information.
If the project goes ahead what will happen to existing user groups of the Drake Hall buildings?
The Council will make every effort to minimise any disruption should a new facility be developed. The proposed site location ensures that the existing Drake Hall, community centre and youth club/nursery buildings would not be affected during the construction phase, ensuring existing services and activities can continue without any disruption.
Will facilities affected by the proposed development be provided during the construction stage? (library, play area, exercise zone and skate park)
Facilities affected by the proposed development (library, play area, exercise zone and skate park) will be re-provided on a different area of the King George V site. The location of these facilities is still to be finalised but will remain on or adjacent to King George V Playing Field.
What is a land swap and what level of protection will it provide to the green open space in the centre of Woodside Close?
The design of the new centre requires a portion of the King George V playing field to be built on. To compensate for this Chiltern District Council and Amersham Town Council are to undertake a formal legal land swap by swapping a small portion of King George Playing Field (currently owned by Amersham Town Council) for the Green on Woodside Close. (currently owned by Chiltern District Council) This legal process will be overseen by the 'Fields in Trust' who will then protect the Green in Woodside Close under its protection of open space programme Fields In Trust
What was the outcome of the Land Swap consultation?
To inform the land swap application process Chiltern District Council (CDC) and Amersham Town Council (ATC) jointly undertook a public consultation (Amersham based) from 1 September to midnight on 2 October 2017 to gauge the views of residents. As detailed in the Consultation Results there was a good level of public support with over 70% supporting the proposal.
What are the next steps to complete the land swap?
Both Chiltern District Council (CDC) and Amersham Town Council (ATC) are displaying public notices at both Woodside Close Green and King George V Playing Field for four weeks (Week commencing 26th March) notifying of the proposed land swap. Following this both Chiltern District Council (CDC) and Amersham Town Council (ATC) will seek formal agreement to complete the land swap.
What will happen to the existing leisure centre site?
It has not been decided what will happen to the existing leisure centre site but to help offset the cost of building the new facility the Council will consider opportunities to develop the site including the use of temporary parking.
Why is it proposed for only Amersham to get a new centre, what about the other areas in Chiltern - Chesham, Chalfont for instance?
Chiltern District Council undertook an independent leisure needs assessment which identified the need to retain the existing leisure centres in Chesham and Chalfont. The Council is committed to continue operating and investing in Chesham and Chalfont leisure centres. In the last year Chiltern District Council, working in partnership with the leisure provider Greenwich Leisure Limited has invested in Chalfont and Chesham Leisure Centres by improving the existing facilities. However because of the age and condition of Chiltern Pools it will be soon be uneconomical to continue operating and this is why it is being considered for redevelopment.
How will the recent announcement of a unitary Council impact on the project?
The current facility will be by 2020 uneconomic to operate and risks closure, plans have to be continued to be progressed in order for a decision to be made as to the re-provision of a facility at no cost to the Council. If the business case is favourable then the unitary decision should not impact on the development as this is a long term investment in the community infrastructure.
Following completion of the land swap what are the proposed next steps in progressing the project?
The Council will develop more detailed design plans of the proposed leisure/community facility working closely with users on the existing site. These are Amersham Community Association, Gateway Club, Amersham U3A, Lindfield Nursery, Amersham Youth Club, Bucks County Council and Amersham Swimming/Diving Club. Subject to the revised plans being financially viable the Council will then consider submitting a formal planning application in the Autumn of 2018 which will involve a public consultation process.