Major leisure development completed in aim to bolster UK leisure stock

Major leisure development completed in aim to bolster UK leisure stock

The major redevelopment of the lido at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury has completed following a £5.7 million investment. 

Commissioned by West Berkshire Council and developed by Alliance Leisure working in partnership with Myrtha Pools and Universal Civils & Build through the UK Leisure Framework, the new outdoor facilities include a 50 metre, Olympic length outdoor swimming pool, a splash pad and fun slides, beach hut style changing rooms, a sun terrace and a relaxation area, all of which are fully accessible.   

Greg Walker, Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure, says: “It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying this amazing space again. There has been a lido on this site since 1870 so it’s part of the local DNA.  

“The original pool was affected by ground water levels, which, over the years, undermined the integrity of the structure and became increasingly expensive to maintain. Now that the pool has been re-engineered with the benefit of modern-day learnings and technologies, families will be able to enjoy the many physical, mental and social benefits of this amazing facility for generations to come.” 

It is forecast that the new facilities, opened on the 21st August 2023, will accommodate 50,000 attendances each season. 

Kevin Burns, UK business development manager at Myrtha Pools, says: “Like most lidos across the country, modern technology is affording leisure operators the chance to redevelop and plan for the future. 

“The new pool benefits from our precision engineered chromium-rich steel technology, which futureproofs the lido for decades to come, both in terms of ongoing maintenance costs and sustainability savings. This project is a prime example of how existing facilities can be renovated and improved upon, without beginning a new build process from scratch, which is increasingly important as council’s and leisure operators look to optimise budgets.” 

In addition to attracting more visitors to the facility through the inclusion of the splash pad, main pool, slides, residents will now also enjoy an extended season. 

Greg Walker explains that this is thanks to the redesign of the pool. He says, “By shortening the pool from 72 metres to 50 metres and reducing the depth from a maximum of 2.8 metres to a profile from 0.9m to 1.58m, pressure on the structure has been reduced and maintenance demands have been eased. This means the facilities can now be operational from April right through to the end of September. This not only extends access to this amazing community provision, but has created a more sustainable financial proposition.” 

Adding to this, Martin Davies, Director at Universal Civils & Build, says: “We have been privileged to manage this project almost from inception, through detailed design and build, to final delivery. This has not been without its complications imposed by budget, timescales & engineering complexity but has been a great challenge. We have used the in-house ground solution & piling teams of our Group to support us, which alongside Myrtha Pools has allowed us to jointly create a wonderful community facility.”

The UK Leisure Framework, owned by Denbighshire Leisure LTD (DLL) has supported many community leisure development projects from full scale multisite leisure centre new builds to 3G pitches and pump tracks. Speaking about this project, Jamie Groves, Managing Director, says: “This is exactly the kind of project we launched the Framework to support. The Northcroft lido has been a part of the community’s landscape for more than a century and it’s fantastic to secure its future for many more years to come.  

“This was a technical project that required a high level of specialist expertise. Through the UK Leisure Framework we were able to engage expertise at all levels of the supply chain and feed this back through a single point of contact, Alliance Leisure. This helped to mitigate any risks that could threaten the budget or timescale of the project and ensured a smooth transition from concept through to launch.” 

Janine Lewis, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health, Culture, Leisure, Sport and Countryside added, “Working in partnership with Alliance Leisure, we’ve breathed new life into a much-loved facility and created a model that will enable thousands of residents and visitors from far afield to enjoy the pleasures of outdoor swimming and other water activities for many years to come. We can now all celebrate the success of this project together.” 

Moving forwards, Everyone Active has been appointed under a ten-year term to manage the Northcroft Leisure Centre and Lido as part of a wider leisure management agreement with West Berkshire Council. 


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BDC 309 : Oct 2023