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Dudley Council Transforms its Leisure Provision

The face of Dudley is changing and that includes its leisure centres as the town centre undergoes a near £1bn regeneration programme over the next decade.

Alliance Leisure

Residents in Halesowen, West Midlands are enjoying a completely re-invigorated leisure experience thanks to a major upgrade of the town’s leisure centre.

Delivered by Alliance Leisure for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, the development has seen the tired and outdated Halesowen Leisure Centre transformed into a vibrant activity hub with a new mix of facilities that have been expressly chosen to meet the needs of the entire community.

The extensive project was carried out in two phases. The first got underway in February 2021 and saw the former learner pool and changing rooms converted into a new reception area, cafe and a large adventure play area to serve local families. Further works included the addition of a new wellness suite, complete with a studio featuring power-assisted exercise equipment. Beneficial for older adults, those new to exercise, recovering from injury and people living with long-term health conditions, the specialist studio allows the centre to engage with people who are put off or cannot use a mainstream gym.

The redevelopment also included extending the existing gym with the addition of new equipment and refurbishing the exercise studio. Facilities have been made more accessible with provision of a lift as well as the creation for the first time of a changing room for people with support needs.

Outside, the building’s facade was replaced and landscaping works carried out to improve the overall visual appeal and entrance. This phase completed in December 2021.

Phase two followed immediately and completed in November 2022. This included the reconfiguration of the pool area to create a 25m main pool and 12.5m learner pool supported by a new changing village. All facilities cater for those with accessibility issues, creating opportunities for use by all members of the community.

“This project has brought the town’s leisure provision back in line with the diverse needs of today’s community,” says Julia Goddard, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure.

“Leisure provision needs to keep up with the changing needs of the community. Dudley Council recognised this and invested in creating a sustainable provision that will support a healthy and active community both now and in the future.”

Delivered via the UK Leisure Framework, which is owned and managed by Denbighshire Leisure, Alliance leisure worked closely with construction partner, Speller Metcalfe as well as project manager Axiom to deliver both phases of the project.

“It has been fantastic to get to the completion of construction works at the leisure centre – in particular the swimming pool, which will be a highlight for users,” said Rob Lashford, Regional Director at Speller Metcalfe.

“We know how important facilities such as these are to the local community, and we’re delighted to have worked with the council, Axiom and Alliance Leisure to make this scheme a reality for Halesowen.”

The multi-million-pound redevelopment of Halesowen Leisure Centre marks the completion of a multi-site leisure regeneration programme for Dudley Council; the biggest outlay on leisure services in the borough for decades, which has transformed the visitor experience for Dudley residents.

Working in partnership with Alliance Leisure, the council also invested £4.1m in the extensive re-modelling of Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge in 2021.

The outdated changing rooms were completely remodelled with more family-focused facilities, and the experience for swimmers was improved. The 25m pool was drained and refilled and improved lighting was installed. In the leisure pool, new artwork adorns the slides and a new beach-style tiki hut was installed poolside for the return of the popular Bondi Beat disco sessions.

The council also addressed a backlog of repairs and maintenance items, installed energy-efficient lighting in a number of areas as well as a £600,000 ground-source heat pump – one of the many ways the council is responding to climate change.

This project was followed by the building of a new, £18.2m leisure centre in Dudley. Opened in January 2022, the Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre includes two swimming pools, a sports hall, gym, immersive spin studio, fitness studios, soft play, wellness suite and cafe.

In October last year, nine months after the launch of Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre, membership at council leisure centres in the borough had soared to record levels passing the 6000 mark for the first time.

“The completion of extensive work significantly improves our leisure provision for residents across the borough,” says Councillor Simon Phipps, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Enterprise at Dudley Council.

“In partnership with Alliance Leisure, we set about designing a future where everyone’s leisure needs are catered for. Investment now will create a sustainable future for our leisure centres that will support the welfare of our borough’s population for generations to come.”

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