This page explains our latest proposals for the Kingfisher Leisure Centre site.
In March and April, we held a listening exercise where we asked you what your priorities were for the Kingfisher, Cattle Market and Guildhall complex sites – we had over 2,500 comments during this engagement.
We used this feedback to shape the mix of facilities in the new leisure centre, which we presented to you in the summer. During that phase, we heard from more than 1,500 of you and have since used your feedback to shape the updated designs you can see here.
We were pleased that almost 80% of you felt that we had got the facilities mix right and over 96% said they would consider using the new leisure centre when it opened. Overwhelmingly, people were excited by the early designs.
Below are the key themes from your feedback that we received during the second phase of engagement and how we have addressed them.
Make sure the new community facility is fun and family-friendly.
We will be providing a range of activities for all ages, including a toddler pool or ‘splash deck’, clip and climb and soft play.
Read more about our family-friendly activities below.
Target the highest possible accessibility standards and make sure the facility is affordable.
We are committed to making this a highly accessible community facility for everyone to enjoy.
You can learn more about the accessibility features below.
We are engaging with disability groups and people with lived experience of disability specifically to ensure we are doing everything we can.
Be ambitious for the sporting facilities – many people wanted to see Kingston residents competing in Olympic swimming!
This will be an exceptional sporting facility, including a 25m short course competitive swimming pool designed collaboratively with local sports clubs.
A new leisure facility is a major priority and should be delivered as soon as possible.
We are committed to delivering this new leisure facility as a key priority.
You were concerned about the environmental impact of redevelopment.
We are targeting the highest environmental standards and the new building will be miles ahead of the old Kingfisher in terms of sustainability and energy efficiency.
Read more about our sustainability measures below.
For the family
When we last spoke to you, you asked us to make sure that the new facility was fun and family-friendly, with features which people of all ages could enjoy.
Our plans include:
- A teaching pool which is suitable not just for swimming lessons but also for family fun. For example, there could be an inflatable floating island and water play sessions.
- A toddler pool or ‘splash deck’ which is fun for the little ones.
- A new soft play area where Kingston’s youngest residents can play together.
- A ‘clip and climb’ and climbing wall in the entrance, suitable for all ages.
- An enhanced outdoor playground, improving the well-used facilities in the Fairfield Recreation Ground.
A new clip and climb and climbing wall will be provided
The teaching pool will be suitable for lessons and family fun
A new clip and climb and climbing wall will be provided
A toddler pool or ‘splash deck’
The playground will be improved and extended
What the new pool will look like
Image showing what the new gym could look like
Image showing what the new sports hall could look like
For people of all abilities
When we last spoke to you, many people told us that they wanted a facility where Kingston’s next generation of competitive swimmers and sportspeople could develop, as well as a place which welcomes people of all abilities.
We want this to be an outstanding place with the very best in sporting equipment and facilities. Whether you’re a future Olympic swimmer or just trying to keep fit, this will be a great place to come and be active.
That’s why we are delivering:
- A 25m pool designed specifically for short course competitive swimming.
- A six-court sports hall for sports like basketball, netball, badminton and where other sports can be played.
- Four squash courts.
- Rooftop space which can be used for activities like yoga and pilates.
- A rooftop five-a-side football pitch.
- Exercise studios for fitness classes.
- A modern gym.
Pool pod to allow wheelchair access to swimming pools
Changing Places bathrooms
Signage will be dementia friendly and available in Braille
Hearing loops for those hard of hearing
Accessible for all
One of our key priorities for the new facility is that it will be exceptional in terms of accessibility.
This is something that you raised time and again during our last engagement and we have seen a groundswell of support for ensuring this is a facility which everyone can enjoy.
The old Kingfisher had limitations in terms of accessibility – for example, there was no level access making it hard for wheelchair users to navigate the centre, and the roll-in facility could not be used when the wave machine was on.
To make this a community facility for all, we have included:
- Hoists so that people with upper body disabilities can safely be lowered into the pools.
- Pool pods to enable people in wheelchairs to swim safely.
- Floating floors in both pools so the depth can be altered.
- Step free access throughout the facility, and level access to the main entrance.
- Facilities for guide dogs.
- Tactile Braille signs on balustrades to aid wayfinding for visually impaired people.
- Contrasting floor and wall colours to make wayfinding easier for people with dementia or visual impairment.
- Hearing loops for those hard of hearing.
- Changing Places facilities, which are much larger and more comfortable bathroom facilities for people with disabilities and their carers to use. These will be provided in both the pool hall and sports hall.
We are also holding targeted sessions with disability groups and people with lived experience of navigating the world with disabilities to hear from them about any other features which would make this a more accessible place.
The old Kingfisher building was not sustainable and performed poorly in terms of 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 committed to making this a genuinely sustainable development, fit for the future.
Our vision is that this site, encompassing the new community facility and our historic Museum and Library, will be at the heart of Kingston’s renewed town centre.
The site at the moment can feel detached from the town centre, tucked away despite the historic Museum and Library which form part of our rich heritage.
Visitors will be able to walk to the new facility, directly through our new landscaped spaces, past the historic Museum and Library into the Fairfield Recreation Ground where they can socialise or play outdoors sports.
The new facility will include a number of new green spaces, including roof terraces
Our plans will deliver new public spaces, whilst also making more of the Fairfield Recreation Ground which sits right next to the site. We will do this by upgrading existing play equipment, providing new complementary facilities on our site, and creating better visual and physical connections between our new building and the existing green space.
We want to create a range of welcoming spaces for everyone to enjoy – from vibrant public places to play areas for families and quiet spots to sit and relax.
We will be providing new public spaces with a range of outdoor furniture for people to sit and gather. We will create new planted, landscaped and enhanced children’s play areas, which will be suitable for a greater age range. We are also considering how these landscaping features will encourage people to use all of the spaces.
We want these to be exemplar public spaces. We will strive to lead by example and set a strong precedent for all future development in Kingston.
During our last engagement we showed you some options for how we could achieve this better connection to the historic buildings. After careful design work and reviewing feedback, we have chosen an open connection through shared public space, rather than a physical building linking the new facility with the Museum. This allows for a much more open space, which is a natural walking route that connects the site with the town centre to the south, and the Fairfield Recreation Ground to the north via a new open public square.
Options we presented to you during our last engagement
The new community leisure facility with the addition to the Museum visible on the right
This new route will be animated by the new foyer and café at the ground floor which will open up and allow people to spill out into the public areas. This will allow for views of the eastern side of the listed library, improving and enhancing its setting, whilst allowing a visual connection through the new building foyer and into the pool halls.
It also makes space for a new addition to the eastern side of the Museum, allowing for a visual interaction with the public areas and the new leisure centre. Our desire is to create a new cultural destination within the town, using the public realm and the architectural design to link all three buildings, allowing each to benefit from people wishing to explore all the site has to offer.
These measures have been designed to attract more people to our cherished heritage assets by integrating them better into our evolving town centre.