Council publishes consultation results on new leisure facilities in Kenilworth

Warwick District Council has released the results of the public consultations for the Kenilworth leisure facilities held last year.

Warwick District Council invited residents and community groups in Kenilworth to give their feedback in November 2019 on future plans for Abbey Fields Swimming Pool, Castle Farm Recreation Centre and the new site for the Kenilworth Wardens cricket and football clubs.

Image of proposed swimming pool at Abbey Fields

Image of proposed swimming pool at Abbey Fields

The five-week consultation was publicised widely in the town and the seven public drop-in sessions organised by the council were well attended.

As a result, 752 surveys on the schemes were completed by local residents the findings of which are now available to view in a report on the council’s website.

Warwick District Council’s portfolio holder for culture, Cllr Moira Ann Grainger said: “We are making a huge investment in the leisure facilities in Kenilworth, so we were therefore keen to get feedback from all sectors of our community on our latest design proposals.

"Those who responded gave some very clear messages about the need for the new facilities to be sustainable, energy efficient and accessible to all and also highlighted the importance of mitigating the impacts on traffic and wildlife.”

Image of proposed Castle Farm Recreation Centre

Image of proposed Castle Farm Recreation Centre

The plans for Abbey Fields will see the creation of a second indoor pool as well as the refurbishment and remodelling of all the public areas.

One of the main messages the district council received from the consultations for Abbey Fields Swimming Pool was the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency.

Paddy Herlihy, programme manager with the Cultural Services Department of Warwick District Council, said: "We are attempting to get the building as close to carbon neutral as possible. We will be using something called a Green Book during the process."

He said they're going to use a combined heat and power plan for the swimming pool facility, which involves using gas in two different ways.

Some of the feedback showed people believe the current design for the swimming facility is too modern.

Paddy said: "We have changed the profile of the design so it isn't all glass."

He said they've also added more sandstone to the design.

People also raised ecological concerns about light pollution from all the glass in the original plans for the Abbey Fields swimming facility.

Following the consultation the council is also examining the amount of light getting into the Finham Brook area.

Paddy added: "We don't want light getting into that area. The design teams are looking at that area again."

One of the biggest issues raised by the public was cycling in Abbey Fields. But that was a separate consultation to the swimming pool facility. Currently cycling is not permitted in Abbey Fields.

Paddy said: "We are going to put in a quite a few bike racks at the Abbey Fields Swimming Pool. So you can wheel your bike in there. We'll add more if the rule changes."

The council is also considering cutting back the size of the sun terrace for the area outside the swimming pool facility near the lake at Abbey Fields.

Based on the consultations the council's design teams are also looking at changing the access to the two proposed swimming pools from ladder access only to possibly adding steps.

The council is also considering digging up the original larger pool at the facility, and putting in a completely new tank, which would increase the swimming lanes from four to five for the pool.

Castle Farm

At the Castle Farm Recreation Centre there will be a new leisure centre with sports hall, 80 station gym and studios. The building will also provide a home for the scouts and guides. The wider site will also incorporate new facilities for the Kenilworth Wardens.

The Castle Farm Recreation Centre will be completely knocked down and built again new.

The building for the new facility will be more than twice the size of the current one.

Bar far the council received the largest response from the public on traffic, access and parking for the Castle Farm Recreation Centre.

Entrance to the Castle Farm leisure centre and Wardens &&&&&&& has been narrowed down to two options.

The first option involves an entrance to the leisure centre at Fishponds Road and a separate second entrance to the Wardens grounds off John O' Gaunt Road.

The second option is to only have one entrance to both facilities at the Fishponds Road location with a smaller pass through road from the leisure centre to the Wardens grounds.

The council is also looking several different traffic mitigation measures for the neighbourhood around the Castle Farm leisure centre.

The council also plans to use photo voltaic cells, which come in the form of panels on the roof of the new Castle Farm Recreation Centre as a way of making power for the building. The council is only considering using that method for the town's swimming facility because the panels would be visible to the eye in Abbey Fields.

A full report of the consultation will form part of the planning application for both sites, which will be submitted later this year.