Chelmsford’s inspirational new Riverside Leisure Centre has been officially opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent. The Duke unveiled a commemorative plaque and toured the new facilities, meeting centre users, staff and members of the professional and construction teams, including Artelia Project Lead, Robert Marr and Director, Ian Bailey. His Royal Highness heard how the site has undergone an extensive redevelopment and refurbishment programme to deliver an impressive combination of swimming, ice skating, sports and leisure facilities, designed to encourage local people of all ages to engage in fun, fitness and healthy lifestyles. Representatives from Sport England were also present at the opening. The organisation has invested £1.5 million of National Lottery funding into the centre.
The centrepiece of the new facility, and one of the most complex to deliver, is the 10-lane, 25-metre pool which features a high-tech adjustable barrier which allows half of the pool to stay open to the public while swimming lessons and specialist sessions take place in the other half. Technology is used widely throughout the building to enhance facilities, for example, from enabling virtual fitness training to a Spin Studio with light and sound shows.
Sustainability was a key part of the Riverside project and high environmental performance and low lifecycle costs were central elements of the design, enabling it to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. A combined heat and power unit ensures that energy is used efficiently at the Centre and the site generates much of its own electricity. The Centre’s location alongside the River Chelmer presented a number of design and construction challenges for the build, but now provides a beautiful setting for users of the new riverside café.
Chelmsford City Council’s Chief Executive, Nick Eveleigh paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to the project: “Undertakings on this scale require great commitment and this fantastic new facility is no exception. I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has played a part in creating this asset for our community. May this next iteration of Riverside Leisure Centre continue to serve and inspire our growing city.”