Mixed sex changing remains in major leisure centre plans

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

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Major leisure improvements at St Nicholas Park are ready for the final round of approval after proposals were submitted to planners.

Details of the leisure centre expansion, complete with new access and a triple-sized gym, have now been submitted for approval before work starts in the early autumn.

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

Despite public outcry, the splash pool will not be saved but Warwick District Council officers said a number of changes have been made following public consultation.

Plans also include to keep new unisex changing rooms despite it being the most contentious issue with users.

A total of 1,254 attended consultation sessions when plans were unveiled in January, with 23 written responses made objecting to the plans.

Council planners said: “By a substantial margin, the greatest number of negative comments received were against the provision of mixed-gender changing areas.”

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

Architect drawings for St Nicholas Park

The £3 million development is due to go ahead this winter and will treble the size of the existing gym and create new changing areas.

Planning permission must now be granted for extensions to the front of the centre to house a fitness suite and two sports studios - one of which will be a dedicated spinning room for cycling classes.

A new 80-station gym and a unisex communal changing area will be created with disabled access, open shower facilities and several cubicle showers and family rooms.

But despite a petition and backlash from parents, the “not-fit-for-purpose” splash pool will be removed to make way for a viewing area and open-plan changing space.

And following feedback, the number of private and open showers in the wet changing rooms could be increase, with a different location for the staff room.

But there is not the room to add gender-specific or closed changing areas at the council-owned Warwick site.

The proposals will go before the planning committee for approval in the coming weeks.