The major redevelopment of the lido at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury, has completed following a £5.7m investment.
This was an incredible opportunity to use precision engineering solutions to transform an historic and popular lido at the heart of a community at Northcroft Leisure Centre in Newbury.
The new outdoor facilities were to include a 50m, Olympic-length outdoor swimming pool, a splash pad and fun slides, beach hut-style changing rooms, a sun terrace and a relaxation area, all of which had to be fully accessible.
The ambitious £5.7m scheme was expected to see attendances surge to 50,000 each season. It was commissioned by West Berkshire Council and developed by Alliance Leisure working in partnership with modular pool provider Myrtha Pools and Universal Civils & Build through the UK Leisure Framework.
The original pool – on a site dating back to 1870 – was being affected by groundwater levels, which had undermined the integrity of the structure and became increasingly expensive to maintain.
Rather than launching a costly and time-consuming demolition and new build, the plan was to use modern technology to re-engineer the outdated pool and futureproof the development for decades to come.
The new pool benefits from Mythra Pools’ precision-engineered chromium-rich steel Myrtha RenovAction technology. It streamlines the overall process and reduces ongoing maintenance and sustainability costs – a key factor at a time of financial pressures in the leisure industry – with the average price of a swim now valued at over £5, according to a new state of the industry report from Leisure DB.
Kevin Burns, UK Business Development Manager at Myrtha Pools, said: “Like most lidos across the country, modern technology is affording leisure operators the chance to redevelop and plan for the future.
“The project was a prime example of how existing facilities could be renovated and improved upon, without beginning a new-build process from scratch, which is increasingly important as councils and leisure operators look to optimise budgets.”
The four-lane lido is formed of stainless steel using modern methods of construction (MMC), with the existing concrete structure relined to deliver corrosion prevention and filtration improvements.
Shortening the pool from 72 to 50m, and reducing the depth from a maximum of 2.8m to a profile from 0.9 to 1.58m, has made way for water slides and a new interactive children’s play area, installed by Myrtha Pools. That has reduced pressure on the structure and eased maintenance demands.
The facilities’ opening hours have also been extended to a six-month span, from April to the end of September, and the pool can be heated during colder times in the operational period.
That means extended access to this community provision, which currently has 15,000 to 20,000 visits per year, for families to enjoy while creating a more sustainable financial proposition.
This was a technical and complex project that required a high level of specialist expertise, from inception, through detailed design and build, to final delivery in summer 2023.
Using the UK Leisure Framework, owned by Denbighshire Leisure Ltd (DLL), secured the engagement of expertise at all levels of the supply chain, through a single point of contact, Alliance Leisure, to mitigate any risks that could threaten the project’s budget or timescale.
Jamie Groves, Managing Director at DLL, said: “This is exactly the kind of project we launched the framework to support. The Northcroft lido has been a part of the community’s landscape for more than a century and it’s fantastic to secure its future for many more years to come.”
Moving forwards, Everyone Active has been appointed under a 10-year term to manage the Northcroft Leisure Centre and lido as part of a wider leisure management agreement with West Berkshire Council.
Breathing new life into a much-loved venue has created a model that will enable thousands of residents and visitors to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor swimming and the many physical, mental and social benefits of an amazing facility for all the family. Through Myrtha Pools’ technology, the facility can now enjoy all the regular benefits of its offering, which include a 45% smaller carbon footprint than traditional methods of construction and cost savings of up to 20%.
Janine Lewis, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside, said: “Working in partnership with Alliance Leisure, we’ve breathed new life into a much-loved facility and created a model that will enable thousands of residents and visitors from far afield to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor swimming and other water activities for many years to come. We can now all celebrate the success of this project together.”