FAQs

Below you can see the responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Thank you to everyone who has engaged with us so far around our plans to build a new community leisure centre on the site of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre. Your feedback in May and June this year was invaluable and shaped our proposals. To learn more about how, visit the You Said, We Did section of this website.

We have set out below answers to the questions which have come up most frequently during our public consultation to date. We will keep this updated over the coming months.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us at transformkingston@kingston.gov.uk.

GENERAL

1. Is the Council delivering this project?
  • Yes, the Council is leading on the redevelopment of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre and Cattle Market car park sites.
2. Who else is on the team?
  • We are bringing together an experienced team to create the best possible proposals. We have formally appointed:
    • Project managers (property and construction), STACE
    • Sustainability consultants, Temple Group
    • Housing development and regeneration consultants, Red Loft
    • Award-winning designers FaulknerBrowns Architects
    • Community consultation experts London Communications Agency

 

  • All our consultants have a proven record of success in delivering high-profile community focused developments.
3. Who are FaulknerBrowns Architects?
  • FaulknerBrowns Architects are an architecture practise based in Newcastle and with offices across the world. They have over 50 years of experience in designing homes, schools, sports buildings, offices, and community facilities.
4. How can I get in touch with the project team if I have questions about the survey and project overall?
  • In addition to our website and digital survey, residents can get in touch with a member of the project team by:
5. When using the freephone service I spoke to someone from London Communications Agency. What is their role on this project?
  • London Communications Agency have been appointed to support us in delivering the consultation and engagement programme with local communities for this project.

 

  • They have helped the council to create the website and digital survey and will continue to work with us over the coming months to help us reach as many local people as possible in our public engagements across the Transform Kingston programme.
6. Are there listed buildings on or near the sites?
  • Yes, both the Kingston Museum and Library are listed buildings and will be taken into close consideration as we develop our proposals for the sites.
7. Are the sites located in or near to conservation areas and local community assets?
  • The Kingfisher Leisure Centre and Cattle Market car park are situated in the Fairfield/Knights Park Conservation Area.
8. Why do the sites need to be redeveloped?
  • The Cattle Market car park and Kingfisher Leisure Centre sites were previously identified as areas for development during the council’s ‘Call for Sites’ consultation in 2017, in preparation for the Local Plan.

The Kingfisher Site

1. Why was the Kingfisher Leisure Centre closed in the first place?
  • We did not take the decision to close the centre lightly, however it was identified that urgent repairs were needed.

 

  • As we investigated in more detail, it became clear that the works required to make the centre safe to use were far more extensive than initially thought, and these would not significantly improve the accessibility, sustainability or quality of the building.

 

  • It was therefore decided to pursue options for full redevelopment so that a modern facility could be built here that can serve Kingston residents for years to come. Our proposals would deliver a brand new, modern, accessible and highly sustainable new community leisure facility.
2. Why can the Kingfisher not be refurbished?
  • The Kingfisher Leisure Centre has been closed since 2019 and it would require expensive and extensive repairs to reopen. We want to take this opportunity to provide a fantastic new resource for local people to enjoy, whilst also ensuring the new facility meets the highest possible environmental sustainability standards.
3. What facilities will be in the new leisure centre?
  • We are now designing the mix of uses based on your feedback in our recent engagement, which took place in March and April this year. Based on your feedback, we already know that the new leisure building will have a swimming and teaching pool, as well as a range of other fitness and leisure facilities, including:
    • A 25m swimming pool and teaching pool
    • Health and fitness gym
    • Spin studio and other fitness studios
    • Sports hall
    • Squash courts
    • Soft play
    • Clip and climb
    • A ‘splash deck’ for children’s water play
    • Flexible spaces that could be used for community activities
    • Café
    • Sauna and steam rooms
4. Will the new leisure centre provide access for disabled people in the local area?
  • Yes, a range of facilities are being proposed in the new leisure destination to ensure that it is inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.

 

  • To learn more about the proposed accessibility features, please navigate to the Proposals section of this website, and click the ‘Accessibility’ tab.

 

  • We would welcome any comments or feedback people with disabilities have about their experience accessing other buildings in Kingston and how we can make the new buildings as accessible as possible.
5. How many pools will be delivered in the new centre and how wide/deep will they be?
  • There will be two swimming pools provided. The first will be a 25m pool with eight lanes, suitable for leisure and competitive swimming. There will also be a 20m x 10m teaching pool suitable for swimming lessons.
6. Will there be spectator seating provided for the main pool?
  • Yes, there will be seating for up to 150 spectators.
7. Will there be a slide in the pool, like the one in the old Kingfisher?
  • In response to feedback from our first phase of engagement, the swimming pools provided in the new facility will focus on competitive and lane swimming, and swimming lessons in the teaching pool.

 

  • However, we are looking at including a small ‘splash deck’ for children. This is a shallow area at the end of a pool which is designed for fun and relaxation and would allow for children’s water play.
8. What activities will the leisure centre provide for children and young people?
  • We want this to be a destination for all ages, and based on your feedback, we are proposing to include activities for children such as clip and climb, soft play, a teaching pool and splash deck, and a new outdoor play area.

 

  • We are also looking to create a range of sports and leisure facilities which could be enjoyed by people of all ages, including young adults. These would include things like a modern gym, spinning studios, fitness studios, a sports hall that could accommodate sports like basketball, badminton and tennis, and social areas like cafes and outdoor green spaces.
9. There are some facilities which residents asked for during our survey earlier this year which we could not accommodate. We have set out why this was the case for the most requested facilities that we were not able to include.

We have designed the mix of facilities in response to community feedback and that is why we have prioritised the swimming pools, sports facilities and family-friendly activities which will make up the new community leisure centre.

 

FACILITY EXPLANATION
Lido There is no room on this site for an outdoor pool. We are, however, providing two new swimming pools, including a 25m pool suitable for both lane swimming and competitive swim galas.
Skate Park This is a large, specialist facility which could not be provided here alongside the other mix of leisure and community facilities.
Ice-skating This is a large, specialist facility which could not be provided here alongside the other mix of leisure and community facilities.
Diving

To ensure the safety of people using the swimming pools, we cannot easily provide diving facilities in the same pool as lane swimming or teaching space. Diving pools also require deeper water.

We have chosen to prioritise lane swimming and a teaching pool in response to the community feedback which demonstrated significant demand for a new swimming and teaching pool.

Adult education There will be a flexible community room provided within the new centre which would be suitable for adult education classes, amongst other uses.
10. What community facilities are you providing?
  • We want this to be more than a traditional leisure centre and intend to provide a mix of community uses and public spaces which will become places for the community to gather, relax and socialise.

 

  • These facilities will include a new café, a flexible community room that could be used for a range of activities, new green spaces and seating areas to walk, socialise or relax, and family facilities like soft play.

 

  • We are also looking at including spa facilities such as saunas and steam rooms, both of which emerged from our recent public consultation as popular facilities the community would like to see here.
11. How will you ensure this is a truly sustainable development?
  • The current Kingfisher building is not very sustainable and performed poorly in terms of sustainability and energy efficiency. This was a key driver in our wish to redevelop it. Our new proposals will significantly improve the environmental performance and we are exploring ways to make this a genuinely sustainable development, fit for the future.

 

  • The new community leisure focussed building for the Borough will be exemplary in design and at the cutting edge in terms of sustainability.

 

  • We will be targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and intend to achieve this using a range of sustainability measures such as: grey water recycling, renewable energy sources, high-quality insulation to prevent energy loss, brown and green roofs, a biodiversity strategy and the provision of good pedestrian and cycle routes and cycle storage.

 

  • To learn more, please navigate to the Proposals section of this website, and click the ‘Sustainability’ tab.
12. What kind of public spaces do you plan to deliver as part of this development?
  • The new public spaces will provide an opportunity for a range of different outdoor activities. This will include spaces for outdoor sports, walking or play.

 

  • In addition to new spaces, we also want to encourage people to make more use of the neighbouring Fairfield. We will do this by upgrading existing play equipment, providing complementary facilities on our site, and creating better visual and physical connections between our new building and the existing green space.

 

  • We want these to be exemplary public spaces. We will strive to lead by example and set a strong precedent for all future development in Kingston.
13. Will you provide a permanent home for the History Centre within the new development on the site of the Kingfisher Leisure Centre?
  • The council is currently exploring options for the History Centre, considering how we can better integrate it with our wider heritage, culture and leisure offer, and make it more accessible to our communities. Given the proximity of the Kingfisher site to the historic Library and Museum complex, there is now an opportunity to create a ‘cultural destination’ for residents and visitors. We are beginning to think about how this could work alongside delivering the brand-new pool and sports facilities which the community told us they wanted here during our listening phase earlier this year.

 

  • This is one of several options the council is exploring. We plan to engage with the community, especially those who use the History Centre, and key stakeholders shortly to hear from you about what you think the council can do to improve the heritage offer going forward.
14. Are you planning to redevelop Kingston Museum and Library as part of the proposals to create a new leisure centre?
  • No, but our plans seek to enhance and protect the historical merit of the Kingston Museum and Library by improving the public realm around these important buildings.

The Cattle Market Site

1. Do you have any specific proposals for the Cattle Market site?
  • We are at the early stages of considering what we might deliver on the site of the Cattle Market car park. We are exploring a number of which include new office spaces, open spaces and housing (both private and affordable).

 

  • We do believe that this site presents an opportunity to deliver much-needed new town centre homes, particularly affordable homes, potentially alongside a mix of commercial uses. We want to hear from you about what kinds of homes or other uses you would like to see here.

 

  • Given its location right next to the Kingfisher, we do need to consider how this site interacts with the new public space and leisure facility. This is why we have included some very early information about what we might deliver here, focusing on how it connects to the new community leisure building. However, we are still at the very early stages of developing proposals for the Cattle Market and will share our concept designs later this year.
2. What will happen to the Monday Market if you redevelop the Cattle Market?
  • We are currently considering options for transforming the Monday Market, which currently takes place at the Cattle Market, into an open-air market in a nearby location, for example on Old London Road.

 

  • We will be engaging with market traders and the wider community about the future of the Monday Market.
3. Are you planning to invest in Fairfield Bus Station as part of the proposals?
  • Preliminary discussions have been held with Transport for London about including Fairfield Bus Station in the wider redevelopment of Cattle Market car park.

 

  • These discussions are at a very early stage and any development on the bus station site is ultimately a decision for TfL.

The Guildhall Complex

1. When will you tell us what your plans are for the Guildhall?
  • We are still working up proposals for what could be delivered on the site of the Guildhall complex. Whatever we deliver here, we fully intend to retain the listed Guildhall building, and preserve it for future generations to enjoy.

 

  • During our recent public engagement, you gave us valuable feedback and suggestions about how to transform the Guildhall complex to deliver a mix of uses that better serves Kingston. We will be coming back to our communities in the coming months with concept designs and early plans for the Guildhall complex site, and you will have a number of opportunities to help us to shape these plans.
2. Are you going to turn the Guildhall into a hotel?
  • Yes, one of the options we are currently considering for the Guildhall is to repurpose it into a boutique hotel. This has not yet been finally decided and there will be extensive consultation around any plans for this site.
3. Are you planning to demolish the Guildhall?
  • The Guildhall is an iconic, historic and Grade II Listed building, which we are committed to protecting – whatever we deliver here will need to put our rich heritage at its heart.
4. Will we still be able to access the Guildhall building once you have repurposed it?
  • We intend to ensure public access to the Guildhall is maintained, whatever we decide to deliver here. At present, a very small number of people actually use the Guildhall, predominantly local councillors and council staff. We hope that by repurposing it, we will create something which Kingston residents can use and enjoy.
5. In your recent engagement, you told us that you will be investing in the wider Guildhall complex. Can you provide a bit more information on which parts of the complex this will include?
  • In addition to the Guildhall building itself, we are also looking to regenerate ‘Guildhall 1’ located off St James’s Road, and ‘Guildhall 2’, which runs along Kingston Hall Road.

 

  • These sites would be suitable for a mix of residential and commercial uses.