NEWS

Read the most recent updates about the Transform kingston programme.

Accessible and inclusive leisure facilities delivered across the borough, with new complex a step closer

November 2023

Care home residents living with dementia are benefitting from new health and wellbeing opportunities including swimming and chair pilates thanks to a new partnership between a Surbiton home and Kingston Council’s leisure services provider Places Leisure. 

Providing inclusive and accessible leisure and wellbeing services for the borough’s residents is a key part of the council’s commitment to reduce inequalities and create a fairer borough. Places Leisure, who were recently named outstanding organisation of the year at the UK Active Awards, is working in partnership with the council to deliver a programme of wellness-boosting activities across the borough. 

 As part of this programme, a Royal Star and Garter resident living with dementia has been using the Malden Centre pool to enjoy swimming again. The sessions have been so successful that the Places Leisure team is now working to create a Dementia friendly aqua class at the centre, as well as further swimming taster sessions for older people to extend the opportunity to others. In addition, an instructor from the Malden Centre has been visiting the care home to deliver chair based pilates to the residents, and pottery sessions will be available for the residents to enjoy at the pottery studio in the Malden Centre.

Places Leisure is also delivering other targeted sessions such as the Malden Centre’s over-60’s keeping fit and toned class – which has grown from 15 members to 50, all up on their feet, performing whole body movements with weights and stomping their to the latest chart toppers. 

Accessible and inclusive facilities also remain at the heart of the council’s proposals for the new leisure complex in Kingston town centre. The new facility continues to make steady progress with procurement of the design and multidisciplinary teams now complete. 

Using the UK Leisure Framework, Kingston Council has brought on board Alliance Leisure to oversee delivery of the project. Their multi award-winning team has delivered over 230 leisure developments across the country. They have since appointed award-winning architect Roberts Limbrick, a leading contributor to the design of commercial and public leisure facilities for over 25 years, to bring a revised building design to life. 

The design team will be working with community stakeholders, potential future users and internal colleagues over the coming months to ensure that the new design meets their needs, with a number of public update sessions in the new year and engagement on the proposed designs later in Spring 2024.

Cllr Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development & Leisure said:

One of our key priorities is to create a borough where all of our residents have the opportunity to enjoy the facilities we have to offer. Taking part in things they love, dipping their toe into something they might like or just trying something completely new, is an important part of that.

“Working closely in partnership is crucial as we look to improve what is available across Kingston, and listen to what our communities are telling us they need. 

“Accessible and inclusive spaces for all will still form a large part of the design for our new Kingston leisure complex, and delivery of this new facility is a top priority. I am pleased we  have a highly experienced team in place that understands what we are looking to achieve, the budget we have and the facility mix our residents have told us they would like to see.”

Tom Fairey, Development Director at Alliance Leisure said:

Having developed over 200 leisure projects, our role is to use this experience to lead a team of best-in-class experts to develop an outstanding new leisure facility for Kingston. We are looking forward to shaping a new, sustainable and inclusive leisure centre that meets the needs of the local community providing long lasting improvements in physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

Investment in the borough’s public spaces continues, with plans for Memorial Gardens taking next step forward

October 2023

Kingston Council and Kingston First are continuing their partnership to improve spaces across Kingston town centre. Proposed plans look to enable greater access and enjoyment of our green and riverfront spaces, where everyone can unwind and connect with nature.

Local and RHS Gold Medal award winning landscape architects, Davies White Ltd have been appointed to lead the next phase of designs for Memorial Gardens. This work will build on the in person and online engagement workshops they hosted about the site with Kingston First in 2021, and will respond to the important feedback we heard from local communities, stakeholders and businesses. 

The project is continuing to use a co-design approach, working with local communities to shape the design, with aims to respect the space as a garden of memory and its cultural significance for commemoration and ceremony, whilst improving connectivity, safety, and inclusivity, to ensure the space is welcoming to all residents and visitors. 

To find out more about the project, view the proposed designs and the November engagement events, please visit the Memorial Gardens website.  

Cllr Alison Holt, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Leisure said:

Ensuring that our residents and visitors can enjoy the wonderful spaces the borough has to offer is of vital importance. With careful and respectful consideration, this is an exciting opportunity to enhance a cherished public space and attract more people into the town centre, helping to support our local economies.

 “I look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback, and working with the team to ensure that these spaces deliver for all.”

 

Kirsten Henley, CEO of Kingston First said:

Memorial Gardens is a unique space in the heart of the town centre. We’re looking forward to working with businesses and the local community to create a space for everyone to enjoy. We encourage everyone to get involved and share their views at the upcoming engagement events.

Davies White Ltd Directors Andrée Davies and Adam White said: 

We are delighted to be working with Kingston Council and Kingston First on the regeneration of Memorial Gardens. You may recall we established a set of shared design values, themes and principles with stakeholders as part of the earlier phase. We then explored various design options before creating a preferred layout for the gardens.

 “We are now looking forward to developing these proposals into a detailed and deliverable scheme through further engagement with the current and future end users and custodians. As ever we welcome everyone’s involvement and invite you to join us at one of the in person or online engagement events we are facilitating in partnership with Kingston Council”.

Also at Eagle Brewery Wharf, following the extensive feedback provided at our engagement events earlier this year, appointed architects Farrer Huxley have updated the initial designs. The revised proposals will be publicly presented in November, and we welcome all to come along to our final engagement event and let us know your thoughts;

When: Saturday 25th November, Drop in anytime 12pm until 4pm
Where: Eagle Brewery Wharf (*rain will see the session move into the Market House, Market Square if needed).

Kingston Council puts forward plans to deliver affordable new homes for vulnerable residents

October 2023

The council is focused on continuing to make Kingston a fairer place, by ensuring that every resident is supported and has increased opportunities for a happy and healthy life.

An important part of this is working to meet the growing housing needs and aspirations of residents, through having the right mix of good quality housing and services to support those in need.

That is why Kingston Council has been working with community stakeholders, internal colleagues and a design team to bring forward initial proposals to redevelop the former care home on Acre Road, Murray House, to provide genuinely affordable housing, at council rent levels, for Kingston’s older residents and for individuals with learning disabilities.

The scheme looks to create 40+ homes by regenerating an existing, well-located and vacant site, and will provide new private and public landscaping for all to use as part of a high-quality and sustainable, carbon neutral design. 

To find out more about the project, give your views and meet the project team, please come along to one of our drop in engagement events:

  • Saturday 28th October, 11am – 3pm
  • Thursday 2nd November, 4pm – 7pm

Both events will be at The Pixton Room, Units 5-7 Canbury Business Park, Elm Crescent, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT2 6HL.

You can also visit our website to take part online: https://transformkingston.co.uk/acreroad/

 

Cllr Emily Davey, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

“Projects like this, that help us to create new, affordable homes at council rent levels for some of our most vulnerable residents, are high on our list of priorities as a council.

By focussing on what our residents need, we can deliver the right places for them to live that maximise people’s wellbeing and independence, whilst also ensuring that we create sustainable homes that help us towards a carbon neutral future.

I look forward to hearing feedback on the proposals from our communities, and encourage everyone to let us know their views by attending one of the events, or visiting the website to complete a survey online.”

Next steps announced for revised leisure and community centre proposals

June 2023

Over the last three months, the council has been working at pace to undertake a thorough review of the new leisure and community centre in Kingston, including the facilities that will be available.

The complex will deliver the range of activities that residents and stakeholders said they wanted to see, and is further supported by a recent review of indoor sports needs across the borough. A more efficient two-storey building will be designed to ensure that the project can be delivered within an affordable budget. 

The outline plans for the new centre include an 8 lane swimming pool and a teaching pool with spectator seating, as well as a four court sports hall, studio spaces, gym, squash courts, and a cafe. Reflecting a new business model it also includes features such as a wellbeing suite and spa facility alongside a larger soft play area than in the previous project. The plans will be considered at the council’s Place Committee on 20 June.

Sustainability, inclusion and disabled-friendly access to the leisure facility remain at the heart of the plans, together with improving spaces around the site, providing a whole range of leisure, community and cultural opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

Cllr Andreas Kirsch, Leader of the Council, says:

We are fully committed to providing a new leisure centre with swimming facilities for the borough on this site. We have made progress as quickly as possible to bring forward revised plans, whilst ensuring robust processes are in place for delivery.

“We have a clear route for procuring the services we need to design and build the new centre within an affordable budget. This means that we will deliver the facilities that meet the needs of residents and that they told us they wanted most. To do this we reconsidered some of the facilities in the centre, reviewed the overall design and structure, and looked at the business model. This enables us to include additional benefits, such as a new wellbeing suite and spa and a larger soft play area, while retaining our focus on inclusion, disabled-friendly access and sustainability. 

“We know that the leisure centre is crucially important for people and communities across Kingston and for the wider culture and heritage-led regeneration of the town centre. The plans now in place will enable us to do this in a responsible and timely way.”

The council aims to share the revised building design for views in 2024 and begin building work in 2025.

Progress being made on leisure complex programme

April 2023

Swift progress being made on revised programme for community leisure facility

A new roadmap to the delivery of Kingston’s new community leisure facility will be presented at the council’s Place Committee on 20th June 2023. 

Following our difficult decision last month not to proceed with a construction partner at almost double the cost of the allocated budget, the council is revising proposals for the new community leisure facility, at pace. 

An outline business case, that amongst other items will include proposed timescales for the programme, as well as options of the revised facility mix, will be presented as part of a report to the Place Committee on 20th June 2023. 

Cllr Andreas Kirsch, Leader of the Council, says:

“As we have said all along, we are 100 percent committed to delivering a high quality, accessible and sustainable swimming and leisure centre on the existing site in Kingston, and this is the next decision point in making that happen. 

 “We are of course disappointed along with residents that the leisure facility cannot be delivered more quickly, however spending almost double our budget was definitely not the right thing to do. 

“We are now on track to deliver comprehensive updates on the programme in June, and look forward to providing more detail in due course.” 

Council committed to leisure centre

March 2023

Kingston Council remains committed to building a new swimming and leisure centre in Kingston town centre.

At the same time, the country’s financial situation has had an unprecedented impact on budgets. Specifically, uplifts in the costs of construction, labour and energy, together with the impact of stretched supply chains across the country, mean that the council is now taking the responsible step of revising plans for the centre.

Revising the specification for the new centre is the prudent and responsible next step to help manage national financial pressures outside the council’s control.

This decision comes after careful consideration and exploration of costs. The council’s commitment to building a new leisure centre on the same site as the previous centre in Kingston town centre remains unchanged. 

The council is not alone in reassessing its spending on capital projects in the face of inflationary pressure. An ever-increasing number of local authorities are rethinking and pausing, or even stopping, their own schemes. 

On the basis of the tender received, the cost of the project would have been almost double the council’s budget, at £79.5m. This level of increase at the early stage of a project is extraordinary. The council took the decision that it cannot accept this scale of cost and is aware this will have an impact on timescales. 

Cllr Andreas Kirsch, Leader of the Council, says:

We are 100 percent committed to providing a high quality, accessible and sustainable swimming and leisure centre on the existing site in Kingston. But we must be responsible and prudent and balance our ambition with reality.

Put simply, this is the right thing to do. It would not be financially responsible to press ahead regardless. The difficult financial conditions are the cumulative result of several years of unprecedented national and international events – of which we are all keenly aware – which are impacting every part of the economy. The increasing costs are not within the council’s control. However, we do have the ability to take action and ensure we build what residents have told us they need within an affordable budget. 

Our experienced team is working on options and will move at pace to define clear next steps. It is not appropriate to be rushed into making promises or committing to timescales without being clear on the next steps. As soon as we are able to give more detail, we will do so.”

Kingston Council and Kingston First continue plans to create attractive riverside space at Eagle Brewery Wharf in Kingston

November 2022

Kingston Council and Kingston First, the town centre’s business improvement district are continuing their partnership to transform Eagle Brewery Wharf on Kingston’s riverside into a place where local residents, visitors and businesses can unwind, enjoy and connect with nature. 

A design team will be appointed by early January 2023 who will build on previous feedback with the local community and businesses to develop designs for engagement and approval in Autumn 2023.

In 2021 local landscape architects Davies White were appointed to develop initial concepts for Eagle Brewery Wharf working closely with local businesses, residents and stakeholders. The feedback given as part of the extensive engagement in 2021 will be the focus of this next design phase, and included themes around being welcoming, accessible to all, nature enhancing and better connecting the site to the town centre. 

Cllr John Sweeney, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration at Kingston Council, said:

“It is great to be providing more opportunities for everyone to enjoy the spaces that Kingston has to offer, particularly at a time when physical and mental wellbeing are so important.

“I’m delighted that we are progressing with this scheme that will not only look to create a relaxing and accessible open space along the riverside, but will also encourage people into our town centre, which is what we all want.”

Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive, Kingston First, said: 

“This is a fantastic project to transform a unique space on Kingston’s riverside into a place for everyone to access, enjoy and experience.

“Following feedback and engagement with local businesses, residents and visitors we’ve got plenty of ideas to build on and take forward into this next phase of development. I’m looking forward to working with the community to really make Eagle Brewery Wharf a special place and I encourage everyone to get involved.”

Communities will be invited to get involved through numerous sessions and workshops which will commence in Spring 2023. Details will be published on Kingston Council and Kingston First’s website.

This initiative is part of Kingston town’s public realm strategy; Reimagining Kingston Town Centre’s Streets and Spaces which was completed in collaboration with Kingston First, Kingston Council, Kingston University and the GLA. The strategy sets out a blueprint for how public spaces could be invested in to improve the experience of Kingston, encourage more people to move around all parts of the town and ensure that the town’s culture, heritage and riverside assets continue to be developed. It also feeds into the work currently underway which looks at how we shape the future of the town centre and surrounding area; A Plan for Kingston Town Centre Area.

The Eagle Brewery Wharf project is part of the council’s wider heritage-led ‘Transform Kingston’ regeneration programme, which looks to reinvigorate and reshape the town centre to make it even better for residents, local businesses, students and visitors.

These significant public realm improvements are an extension of the work being done to reduce anti-social behaviour on the Eagle Brewery Wharf site. In the last few years, the council has put a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place to give them and the local police power to regulate activities in the area, as well as partnered more closely with establishments along the riverside to increase people’s enjoyment of the space. 

New Kingston leisure centre plans set to take major step forward

October 2022

After receiving over seven thousand responses to our engagement last year, the new leisure and community  space on the original Kingfisher site is making solid progress.

The demolition work started in the summer, and the council is now moving towards putting the building of the new complex out for tender. Construction is expected to commence soon after the successful bidder has won the contract. The timeline for the completion is therefore well on track. 

The new leisure complex will be more energy-efficient, inclusive and sustainable than the old Kingfisher facility. It will seamlessly connect with the neighbouring library, museum and Fairfield Recreation Ground as an attractive precinct in the heart of historic Kingston. The area will become a vibrant part of the  town centre, with new green spaces and a café, giving families the opportunity to spend time there beyond just using the leisure complex.

Given the current energy crisis, building a more sustainable and efficient leisure centre to replace the old Kingfisher, which had reached the end of its lifespan at nearly 40 years old, was the right decision to take. The new precinct represents not only the best value for money, but will also deliver the mix of modern leisure and community facilities that residents said they wanted during the three phases of engagement.

Thanks to the council’s effective financial management in the last four years – including an asset redeployment strategy that is set to generate around £40m – and the work to continue stringent financial resilience, the council remains fully committed to building this landmark complex despite the current difficult national financial crisis, which will have a significant  impact on labour, material and building cost.

Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Assets, Leisure and Commissioning Cllr Noel Hadjimichael said:

We are carefully and prudently moving forward to provide Kingston’s residents with a flagship infrastructure project that delivers a fantastic new leisure facility, which everyone across the borough and visitors from afar will be able to enjoy for many years to come.

“By connecting the new complex much more effectively with the neighbouring historic Carnegie library and museum, this development promises to provide something for everyone and will be a celebration of Kingston’s unique history, heritage and culture.”

Kingston’s brand-new community leisure facility another step closer as demolition work begins on site

July 2022

Progress continues towards delivering Kingston’s new community leisure complex as demolition work is set to begin on the old, unsafe Kingfisher building.

Work will begin on site in August and is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Demolition will pave the way for construction to start next year. The new leisure complex will bring accessible facilities fit for the 21st Century right to the heart of Kingston town centre. Residents can look forward to 5-a-side rooftop football, two swimming pools with spectator seating, a children’s splash deck and climbing wall, flexible community spaces, a cafe and much more.

Kingston Council’s Portfolio Holder for Assets, Leisure and Commissioning Cllr Noel Hadjimichael said:

“This is a significant milestone on our journey towards delivering this fantastic new community leisure complex.

“It will bring high quality, accessible facilities for all our residents and visitors, and will help regenerate and revitalise Kingston town centre at a time when the borough’s economy and its communities need it most.”

This scheme is a major part of the council’s ‘Transform Kingston’ programme and sits at the heart of the our heritage-led regeneration of the town centre.

Improvements to the public space around the new complex will connect it much more effectively with the neighbouring historic library and museum, with the aim of attracting more residents and visitors to come and experience Kingston’s unique history and culture. It will also create improved access through to the town’s central shopping area.

Unilever development

July 2022

As part of the development of the Unilever site in Kingston town centre 5 trees will be removed from Brook Street. 

These trees will be subject to 2-for-1 replacement planting. It is proposed that 6 hornbeam trees will be planted in Brook Street within new tree pits, to be created in the pavement. Alongside this, 4 replacement trees will be planted within the development site. The locations, tree species and sizes will be confirmed as part of the planning application. 

A key part of the developer Cube Real Estate’s plans for Unilever Campus is the addition of new urban green spaces, increased tree planting and a biodiversity net gain. Spaces like the new woodland walk in the centre of the offices, the garden on the car park and new green wall will provide an oasis for office workers and new green spaces for the public to enjoy.

While planting plans are still being finalised, Cube is committed to increasing the number of trees on the overall site by a minimum of four times as part of this regeneration.

Proposals for the site comprise two-interlinked office buildings, car parking designed for electric vehicles and a new residential building set within landscaped gardens adjacent to the restored historic Hogsmill River.

Unilever, the company behind brands including Persil, Dove and Marmite, intends to consolidate its workforce from five existing sites in London and Surrey in the new site by winter 2023/24, bringing 2,000 jobs into Kingston town centre.

Rooftop football, climbing and swimming for all – plans for Kingston’s brand new community leisure complex approved

May 2022

Residents can look forward to state-of-the-art leisure and community facilities right in the heart of Kingston as plans for the town’s new leisure complex are approved by Planning Committee (26 May).

With 5-a-side rooftop football pitches, two swimming pools with spectator seating, a children’s splash deck and climbing wall, as well as flexible community spaces, a cafe and much more, the scheme will deliver inclusive facilities fit for the 21st Century.

This scheme is a major part of the council’s ‘Transform Kingston’ programme and sits at the heart of the council’s heritage-led regeneration of the town centre.

Improvements to the public space around the new complex will connect it much more effectively with the neighbouring historic library and museum, with the aim of attracting more residents and visitors to come and experience Kingston’s unique history and culture.

It will help regenerate and revitalise Kingston town centre at a time when the borough’s economy and its communities need it most, creating improved access through to the town’s central shopping area.

Leader of Kingston Council Andreas Kirsch said:

“Delivering this state-of-the-art, disabled-friendly leisure and community complex is one of our top priorities.

“We want all our residents to live happy, healthier, fulfilling lives, and having this fantastic facility right in the centre of Kingston, designed by award winning architects FaulknerBrowns, will help us achieve that ambition.

“I am also delighted that the new complex will link with the museum and the library celebrating our history and heritage.”

Work to demolish the old, unsafe Kingfisher leisure centre will start this summer as preparations to deliver the new facility begin on site.

Next steps for Kingston’s brand new community leisure facility

May 2022

Next steps for Kingston’s brand new community leisure facility

Progress continues towards delivering a brand-new community leisure complex in the heart of Kingston. A contractor has been appointed to undertake demolition of the old, unsafe Kingfisher building. Formal notice of the demolition has now been served and the work is expected to start in Summer 2022. 

The planning application for the new leisure and community facility on the site is being heard by Kingston Council’s Planning Committee this Thursday, 26 May 2022.

Investigations begin on Kingfisher site

March 2022

Next step for Kingston’s new community leisure facility as investigation work begins on site

Progress towards Kingston’s new community leisure facility is continuing with ground investigation work set to begin on site ahead of the demolition of the existing Kingfisher building.

The investigation work will begin at the beginning of April 2022 and is expected to last for around two weeks. 

Ground investigations are needed to understand the rock and soil profile of any development site before demolition or construction begins. They involve physical probing of the ground at locations across the site to understand the ground formation. 

The work will help ensure demolition and construction can be properly planned and delivered in the most effective way. 

In addition, planned tree works at the Kingfisher site will start on Monday 21 March.

Transform Kingston programme update

February 2022

Transform Kingston programme reaches major milestone as planning application for new leisure complex submitted.

Residents are a major step closer to seeing a new community leisure facility in the heart of Kingston as Kingston Council gives the scheme committee approval and the planning application is submitted.

Place Committee (10 February) reaffirmed the council’s commitment to deliver the new community leisure facility on the site of the Kingfisher, as part of the Transform Kingston programme. The scheme sits at the heart of the council’s heritage-led regeneration plans to transform the town centre and drive recovery from the pandemic.

Leader of Kingston Council and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Andreas Kirsch said:

“I’m incredibly proud that we have reached such a significant point in our Transform Kingston programme and our journey towards this fantastic new leisure facility. The submission of the planning application is a huge step forward in delivering the scheme.

“We had more than 7,000 responses to our 3 phases of engagement on the proposals and I want to thank all of you who shared your views. Your valuable and insightful feedback has helped shape the final designs.

“We are working with leading architects FaulknerBrowns to deliver a truly inclusive space, accessible for all, environmentally sustainable, and family and disabled friendly. It will also celebrate our borough’s rich heritage and history. The new complex will help revitalise our town centre, making it a prime place to visit for culture, entertainment and leisure as well as shopping.”

As Kingston looks to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic, it has never been more important to develop the places and spaces that support everybody to be active.

The council’s new indoor leisure facilities strategy sets out the need for a wide range of high quality physical activity services and facilities across the borough. With this new leisure complex, the Council is bringing forward the first of several planned projects to deliver those ambitions. By doing so it will support residents to stay fit and healthy – both physically and mentally – bring people and communities together so residents can benefit from developing friends and networks, and ensure there are clear pathways to nurture and support talent.

The planning application for the scheme will now be validated and will be live on the council’s planning portal in the next few weeks. It is anticipated it will go to Planning Committee in the Autumn where it will be subject to the usual robust decision making process.

Tree works at the Kingfisher site

January 2022

An application for tree works has been approved by the Local Planning Authority for the removal and/or works to trees in the conservation area. It will be necessary to remove 4 trees; 2 due to poor health and 2 to facilitate the leisure centre demolition and construction. These trees are categorised as having a low quality or being in such a condition that they cannot be realistically retained in the long term (beyond ten years). The tree removal is unavoidable given the scale and nature of the works.

All tree work will be carried out above ground and in order to avoid disturbance to potential archaeological remains on the site, the tree stumps of the 4 trees will be left in place until post demolition archaeological evaluation, as agreed with Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service, has taken place. At this point in time an assessment can be made of the suitability to remove the stumps.

In line with the council’s tree replacement policy 2 trees will be planted to replace each tree lost.

A further 6 trees require pruning.

The work will take place in March.

Your feedback

January 2022

Thank you to everyone who took part in our third phase of engagement on plans for a new community leisure facility in Kingston.

We are really grateful for all of the feedback and insightful comments received, with over 1,500 people taking part in our latest survey. We were pleased to see that the majority of people felt positively about the plans with 78% agreeing that the new leisure facility will have a good range of sports facilities.

Other key findings from our survey showed that:

  • Around 75% of respondents believed that the proposals would accomplish the goal of making the centre accessible for all
  • 87% thought the plans were an improvement on the existing layout
  • 75% believed that the team had achieved its goal of putting sustainability at the heart of the designs

Our team is now reviewing all of the responses received to help finalise the designs ahead of submitting a planning application. The application will set out detailed information about the plans and be publicly available to view on the Council’s planning portal once validated. We will continue to update this website with all the latest news and information so please do check back regularly.

Council leader encourages residents to help shape Kingston’s new leisure centre.

November 2021

Leader of Kingston Council Andreas Kirsch is urging people across the borough to have their say on early proposals for Kingston’s new community leisure facility and civic space.

Councillor Kirsch said:

“This week we are launching the final round of engagement on early proposals for Kingston’s stunning new leisure centre and public space, right in the heart of our historic town centre. 

“I’m really excited about the initial plans, developed based on feedback from people all over the borough. It will be a leisure centre and community space that brings people together, truly a facility for all. It is the centrepiece of Kingston’s heritage led regeneration programme – a leisure centre fit for the future that is even better and more accessible than what we have now.

“From two fantastic swimming pools, a toddler splash deck and outdoor playground, to the clip and climb wall and flexible multi court sports hall, it will be packed full of spaces and facilities for everyone to enjoy.

“Accessibility is something very dear to my heart, and I am really pleased to say it is also something our award winning architects FaulknerBrowns value and prioritise. They have a track record of delivering exceptional leisure centres. The spaces they are designing, with your input, do not merely pay lip service to the needs and requirements of people with disabilities and accessibility issues, they are a fundamental consideration throughout. 

“The new leisure centre will be built to the highest and most advanced environmental standards, to be truly sustainable for years to come and support our response to the climate emergency. It will also enrich and enhance connectivity with Kingston’s museum and library.

“As the final phase of our early engagement begins, we really want to hear from as many people as possible, from all our diverse communities. We will be holding drop in events across the borough during November and people can also share their thoughts in our survey, open from 15 November until 31 December. 

“This is your leisure centre, it is your Kingston, and we want to know what is most important to you. I want as many people as possible to have their voices heard and influence the final designs, so we get it right – for everyone.”

Have your say on our updated proposals for Kingston’s new community leisure facility.

November 2021

During the last community engagement in July, we saw almost 1,200 people respond to the public survey and nearly 200 attend three in-person events. Thank you again to everyone who took part, we have spent these past few months considering all your important feedback and developing our plans to further refine our proposals for the Kingfisher site – including work to make sure the new facility is fun and family friendly, meets the highest possible sustainability standards, and is accessible for all.

Now, we are launching another phase of engagement to share these updated designs with the community and hear feedback before we finalise the proposals and submit a planning application early next year. You can see the updated designs here and download a copy of our community newsletter here.

As part of this phase of engagement, we will be holding a series of public exhibition events in Tolworth and Kingston Town centre, as well as two public webinars, where you can see the latest plans, meet the team and ask any questions. You can see more details of the events and how to attend, here.

We look forward to engaging with you again and welcome your feedback through the latest digital survey.

Hackney visit.

October 2021

We’re so excited by early designs for our new leisure centre for all, right here in Kingston!

Leader of the council, councillor Caroline Kerr, visited Hackney’s wonderful Britannia Leisure Centre to get a taste of what’s in store for us. The centre was created by FaulknerBrowns, the architects designing our new centre.

A sneak peak at our exciting latest designs, shaped by you.

October 2021

Since the close of the latest round of engagement, we have been busy reviewing all the feedback we have received and are working hard on developing our designs.

We will be showcasing our evolved proposals in our upcoming round of engagement in November. We will publicise these events extensively again but do also keep checking this page for updates and any future events.

In the meantime, we are delighted to share some initial images here which show what the new leisure centre may look like – including fantastic family-friendly facilities like a splash pool, interactive climbing wall and a teaching pool where features such as an inflatable floating island and water play sessions will be available.

Your feedback

September 2021

Thank you again to all of you who took part in our second phase of engagement for Transform Kingston which ran for five weeks from 5 July to 1 August 2021.

We are really grateful for all the feedback and insightful comments. The feedback we received was largely positive with 96% of respondents said the new leisure centre was somewhere they would consider visiting – which we are really pleased to hear. Around 80% of people also believed that the proposals had the right mix of facilities and that outdoor spaces would be improved.

We also received some very useful suggestions that have been passed on to our design team to explore whether they can be incorporated into the proposals.

Our next round of engagement is planned for November 2021. During this new engagement, we will present our updated plans, answer your questions and provide solutions to some of the issues raised over the last few months. In the meantime, you can see answers to questions at our updated FAQs page.

We will publicise these events extensively again but do also keep checking this page for updates and the details of any future events.
Download our full Phase 2 engagement report here.

Phase 2 engagement closes

August 2021

Thank you for participating in our recent engagement around these plans, which ran from Monday 5 July to Sunday 1 August 2021. We heard from thousands of you, gathering helpful feedback and ideas about the new leisure facility and the Cattle Market site.

During this engagement, we:
● Received nearly 1,200 online surveys
● Spoke to almost 200 people at our in-person events
● Had over 50 attendees at our webinars
● Corresponded with over 70 people via email or phone

We are grateful to everyone who got involved and gave their views. Your comments will help us to develop more detailed designs which we will share with you for your feedback later this year, before aiming to submit a planning application for the Kingfisher site to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

We will also be considering your feedback on the Cattle Market car park, developing early designs and will bring these forward for your comments in the coming months. There will be further opportunities to engage with these proposals and provide your feedback before a separate planning application is submitted for this site next year.