Berkshire

Reading Council agrees £43m leisure centres contract

Palmer Park artist's impression
Image caption The existing stadium building at Palmer Park will be refurbished

A £43m contract to build new leisure centres in Reading has been agreed.

Reading Borough Council's policy committee awarded a 25-year contract to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) to design, build, and operate the services.

Plans include swimming pools at Rivermead and Palmer Park.

Labour councillor Graeme Hoskin, lead member for health, wellbeing and sport, said he was "delighted" with the announcement which would "transform leisure facilities in Reading".

He added: "We are confident [the decision] will deliver the best possible outcome for families and residents who live in Reading."

Protesters gathered outside the council offices before the meeting and called for the authority to do a U-turn on outsourcing its leisure services.

Image caption Rivermead will have a combined teaching and diving pool and a six-court sports hall

Green councillor Rob White said the council should build the Rivermead pool itself and reopen Arthur Hill Swimming Pool.

GLL said it would open a 25m, six-lane community pool at Palmer Park by early 2022 and a 25m eight-lane competition pool at Rivermead by summer 2022.

The leisure centre at Rivermead will have a combined teaching and diving pool, a six-court sports hall with 250 spectator seats, a gym with three studios, and a soft play area.

The existing stadium building at Palmer Park will be refurbished and will have a gym, soft play area, and party rooms.

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