A multi-million-pound investment into a state-of-the-art leisure facility in Harrogate is set to be completed this summer.
Harrogate Leisure and Wellness Centre, which is being refurbished at a cost of £13.5 million, will provide a 400 square metre fitness centre, a new sauna and steam suite, improved reception and café, as well an overhaul of the existing gym, spin, leisure and swimming facilities.
The diving structure is also being replaced so that the facility can continue to create and nurture future Olympians who would follow in the steps of Jack Laugher and Oliver Dingley who began their diving careers at what was previously known as ‘The Hydro’ in Harrogate.
Outside, the building is being remodelled to provide a reconfigured car park, bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging points.
The existing gas boilers have already been replaced with air-source heat pumps and 250 solar panels, as well as new metering and energy monitoring and control systems. These energy efficiency measures were made possible by a £1.8 million grant from the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) public sector decarbonisation scheme, and will halve the carbon footprint of the leisure centre.
It had been hoped the new facility would be ready to open earlier in the summer but a number of unanticipated issues with the building were found during the construction process.
Urgent improvements needed to be made to the fire protection of the steel frame, as well as the addition of new wall restraints, the replacement of corroded steelwork and fixing an issue that was causing an air leak and heat loss between the roof and the external walls.
As a result of this additional work, the refurbishment project at Harrogate Leisure and Wellness Centre is now set to be completed by the end of July and will reopen in August, once staff from Brimhams Active have had a chance to familiarise themselves with the health and safety and operating procedures of the improved facility.
Further details about the official opening will be announced in the coming months.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said:
We want to ensure a healthier, more active population that is living longer and more independently. By investing in leisure facilities, such as this, we can continue to make that happen.
Unfortunately, refurbishment projects often uncover historic issues that need to be resolved. But by carrying out the work now, the building can conform to the latest legislation, be as energy-efficient as possible and allow people to keep fit and active for many years to come.
The new energy-efficient Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre is also set to open in November following another £17.6 million investment from the council.
Once complete, it will provide a six-lane 25-metre pool, activity pool with flume, sauna and steam room, fitness suite and studio, spin studio, café, electric car charging points and bicycle storage.
It is being built to the BREEAM standard of ‘excellent’ which provides third-party certification of the assessment of the sustainability and energy performance of buildings.
To help achieve this accreditation, it will incorporate high-efficiency building materials, air source heat pumps and solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, due to an unavoidable delay involving the new electrical supply to the building, the leisure and wellness centre will now open in November.
The existing Knaresborough Swimming Pool was due to be demolished once the new facility was open. But to keep construction costs as low as possible, the current pool will close and start to be demolished in early September following the opening of the Harrogate Leisure and Wellness Centre.
Once the existing pool has been demolished, a new play area in front of the new Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre will be installed.
Cllr Myers added:
The new leisure and wellness centre in Knaresborough will complement the existing facilities in Harrogate and across the county and once again ensure residents have easy access to health and wellbeing provision.
Much like Harrogate, the Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre will also incorporate energy-efficiency measures such as air source heat pumps and solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint.