Category Archives: Facility Development

Alliance Delivers £4.5 Million Redevelopment at Two Leisure Venues in Hertsmere

More people in Hertsmere are experiencing the benefits of health and fitness facilities thanks to the £4.5 million refurbishment of Bushey Grove and Furzefield Leisure Centres delivered by Alliance Leisure.

Working in partnership with charitable Trust, InspireAll (formerly Hertsmere Leisure), who manage the sites on behalf of Hertsmere Borough Council, Alliance kept the doors of both centres open, ensuring business as usual throughout the nine-month project. Alliance engaged with Createability to deliver the build works as part of the package.

“Our brief was to design and carry out works that would improve the sustainability of the centres through the provision of services and facilities which match the evolving needs of the whole community and the creation of new revenue generating opportunities,” explains Tom Fairey, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure. “I am pleased to say that the finished works tick both boxes at both sites.”

At Bushey Grove Leisure Centre, a mezzanine floor above the reception has added an impressive  7,800 sq ft to the gym and enabled the incorporation of a large, functional training space. A dedicated group cycle studio, hosting the latest Stages Flight cycles and a giant virtual experience screen, has also been added to enable the facility to offer round-the-clock classes.

Bushey Grove’s tired health suite has been remodeled to create a day-spa with its own reception and four treatment rooms. Visitors can enjoy an ice fountain, heated benches and bucket showers or can simply chill out in the new relaxation area, herbal sauna or aroma steam rooms. Changing areas have been renovated to ensure a luxury experience from start to finish.

Elsewhere, dry side changing rooms and the old creche have been converted into a cafe, new bathrooms, a staff room and a new creche. The old staff room is now a large party room with a folding acoustic wall that can open up to provide further cafe seating when necessary.

To complete the works, Bushey Grove’s swimming pool changing village has been lightly refurbished and features InspireAll’s branding and colours in keeping with the rest of the upgraded centre.

Furzefield Leisure Centre has also undergone major refurbishment. The centre’s tiny 6,900 sq ft soft play area has been transformed into party rooms and two of the existing sevencourt sports hall have been converted into a massive Soft Play and ‘XHeight’ Adventure Climbing facility suitable for all ages, with dedicated lobby, cafe and toilets.

As with Bushey Grove, the existing spa area has been remodeled to create a day spa with its own reception and four treatment rooms, reconfigured from a current studio.  The spa includes: a relaxation area, salt inhalation room, ice fountain, feature shower, herbal sauna and aroma steam, as well as a bespoke, dedicated spa-specific changing area.

Like sister site Bushy Grove, Furzefield’s gym now offers a fully equipped functional training area as well as new equipment, including the Technogym SKILL range, including SKILLROW™, the SKILLMILL™ and the new SKILLRUN™ plus  the latest connected equipment from Matrix. New vibrant wall graphics have also been added to help motivate customers to achieve new goals.

It also features an impressive immersive cycle studio hosting a full complement of Stages Flight cycles and a giant virtual experience screen.

The reception, back office and sales department have all received a cosmetic upgrade to ensure all areas reflect the InspireAll brand, along with new Paddy & Scott’s branded café’s.

Fairey adds: “Furzefield is a busy site but it had grown tired and was struggling to cater keep up with the leisure needs of the community. The recent works will help to retain existing users and also attract new segments of the market, creating a destination for all the family to enjoy some leisure time.”

Speaking about the developments, David Brame, Chief Executive of InspireAll, says: “This was a challenging project with significant crossover with the public, which was handled well. The finished facilities have been well received by our customers and will certainly help to strengthen user experience.

“Both leisure centres are an essential part of the community, already more individuals and groups are enjoying the quality of service and leisure experience these two centres now have to offer.”

Pembrey Country Park Celebrates Summer Success

Following a £1.4 million investment in a new visitor centre, function room and café, Carmarthenshire County Council is celebrating a bumper summer at Pembrey Country Park.

“Pembrey Country Park has always been one of Wales’ top visitor attractions but this summer has been extraordinary in terms of the number of visitors and income generated,” explains Neil Thomas Senior Outdoor Recreation Manager. “Over the summer holidays we have experienced a 10 per cent increase in footfall and a 15 per cent uplift in revenue on last year. There is little doubt that our success is due to the improvements we have made to our facilities.

“The natural beauty of the park, with its 500 acres of woodland and eight miles of golden sands has always attracted visitors but we felt we were not supporting the natural beauty with fit for purpose amenities. For example, we offered limited on site catering provision, in particular for the large numbers of guests staying on our caravan site.  We were missing a trick from a customer experience and revenue generation point of venue.”

In 2017, Carmarthenshire County Council tasked Alliance Leisure, via the UK Leisure Framework, to design and build a 400 square foot visitor centre, function room and café. Works got underway in February and were completed in 21 weeks, ready for the summer season.

Neil Thomas, adds: “We took the decision to manage the café in house rather than rent the space to a third party.  This has been a great decision. During July and August we served more than 50,000 customers.

“The function room has also been popular. So far, we have hosted children’s parties, corporate events and even have our first wedding booked for 2020. The space occupies 60 square feet and is extremely versatile, offering direct access to outside, the café and the restrooms.

Gillian Dunster, Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure, says: “Our brief was to design and build facilities which would enhance the member experience and provide opportunities to generate new incomes, creating a sustainable future for the Park.

“The first two months of operation suggest that working in close partnership with the council, we have delivered on both counts. Pembrey County Park is an area of natural beauty and now provides visitors with the infra structure they need to fully enjoy all the activities on offer from dry slope skiing and crazy golf to adventure play, horse riding, camping and nature trails.”

Denbighshire works with Alliance Leisure to secure the future of local play provision

Denbighshire Housing is bucking the national trend for playground closures by investing in play areas across the county.

Working with leisure development specialists Alliance Leisure Services and equipment providers HAGS, Denbighshire has invested almost £900,000 over the last three years in upgrading and improving playgrounds across its housing estates.

Denbighshire Housing has spent more than £420,000 this year alone in renovating play areas in Ruthin, Cynwyd, Rhyl and Henllan with a variety of modern and challenging play equipment. The playgrounds include dedicated areas for children aged two to four years and for those aged four and above.

Specialist equipment has also been installed to make the playgrounds accessible for children with disabilities, along with accessible footpaths, replacement fencing and wet pour surfacing to ensure they can be used all year round.

In addition to the upgrades, a new play park has been built in Rhuallt following consultations with local people. Located in an old school field, the new development will bring play facilities to the community for the first time.

“We want to encourage children to learn through play, which is why our play areas and landscaping improvement programme has started taking shape. We have a planned programme for refurbishments as it is really important to invest in outdoor play and activities for children in safe environments. We also want well maintained and attractive places to live for our communities,” says  Tony Thomas, Denbighshire’s lead member for Housing, Regulation and the Environment.

Importantly, Denbighshire Housing will inspect, monitor and repair the play areas to ensure they remain safe, clean and inviting for the future.

“Denbighshire understands the value of play and the important role it  plays in the lives of children. Hundreds of playgrounds are being closed across the UK at a time of rising levels of childhood obesity. Denbighshire Housing is one of the few organisations that remains committed to safeguarding the future of its play provision and thereby the health and wellbeing of local children,” says Will Gardner, Business Development Manager, Alliance Leisure.

Q & A with ISG and their development of Monmouth Leisure Centre

Alliance Leisure worked with ISG to build a 25m swimming pool and spa within the existing structure of a sports hall. We talk to Mark Gibson, ISG site manager, about this impressive feat of construction engineering.

Q. How did you come to be involved in the scheme?

Alliance Leisure appointed us as principle build contractor to refurbish and extend Monmouth Leisure Centre in South Wales. The £7.4m project was the 18th scheme that Alliance Leisure had awarded us through the UK Leisure Framework. It has certainly been one of the most complicated, but anything is possible with the right team and procurement approach.

Q. What was the brief?

Monmouthshire County Council wanted to future-proof the centre’s facilities while meeting demand in under-represented markets in the area such as health and wellbeing and children’s play. The project would provide a raft of new facilities including a new gym, studios, a toning suite, children’s play area and café. The town had been without a public pool for some years, so the council also wanted the development to include a 25m pool and a spa.

Q. What made the project so complex?

The leisure centre shares its site and some of its facilities with Monmouth Comprehensive School. At the time of the redevelopment, a new home for the school was being built to the left of the leisure centre. With the existing school sitting to the right of the centre, the only place to put the pool was in the leisure centre’s sports hall.

The combination of the location of the leisure centre between the old and new schools, just one access road into the site and 2,000 pupils passing the live construction site every hour made the logistics of the project hugely challenging. We always knew this was going to be a difficult project, but logistically it was more challenging than projects I have run in central London.

Before work could begin on the pool, we had to erect a temporary sports hall to accommodate the school and community while the project was ongoing. We built temporary facilities for the London 2012 Olympics, so were able to construct a high spec, four-court hall in six weeks that was bigger and better than its permanent predecessor.

Q. How did you overcome the challenges?

We worked with Alliance Leisure to develop innovative solutions to a number of challenges caused by the logistical constraints of the site. A single narrow strip – 1.5m at its thinnest point – provided the only access to the hall. We had to remove a section of the elevation to get the necessary piling equipment and plant machinery into the building to facilitate the work.

We stripped the building back to its shell and treated with spray-on insultation to protect and seal the hall and prevent any impact onto the adjoining dry site.

Monmouth has soft ground as well as a high water table, which called for some innovative temporary works solutions and creative piling designs to support the new swimming pool.

The existing concrete slab in the sports hall needed to be broken out before excavation work could commence. However, traditional temporary works solutions could not be implemented due to logistical constraints. An innovative solution was developed to install a king-post wall to form a u-shape around the deep end of the pool. I-beam posts were driven into the bedrock at 1.2m intervals and then railway sleepers were slotted between the beams on top of one another to form a sacrificial support structure. Another bespoke element saw the use of steel tube piles instead of CFA piles. This solution minimised noise and vibration and reduced the volume of arisings produced.

We also used a sprayed concrete system to cast the slab and walls of the pool. Rejecting a typical formwork solution, again due to logistical constraints and to provide a quicker application, we used a specialist lightweight concrete mix. This unorthodox approach delivered significant time savings – with the entire pool completed within a week and designed, built and tested to BS EN 1992-3:2006 standards.

Q. What made this a successful project?

Construction is not about putting blocks on top of each other; it’s about creativity, innovation and changing perceptions. Thanks to our successful partnership with Alliance Leisure, we were able to take a pragmatic approach to the project, value engineering as and when necessary. This included redesigning the spa area to make better use of the space and include a treatment room. You can only make these types of improvements on projects where you have such close collaboration.

To view more details on the Monmouth development visit our case studies page here

Haverhill Leisure Centre Transformation Punches Above its Weight

Abbeycroft Leisure, working in Partnership with Alliance Leisure, has achieved an incredible leisure centre makeover in Suffolk. The seven month transformation project has seen a tired and under-used facility reworked into a modern activity hub, all within the existing footprint, all within a budget of £1.5 million, provided by West Suffolk Council.

“The images speak for themselves”, says Tom Fairey, Senior Business Development Manager and project lead at Alliance Leisure. “Working closely with Abbeycroft Leisure and West Suffolk Council we have created a vibrant, modern environment which caters for the whole community and stands out as one of the county’s leading leisure destinations.”

Forming part of West Suffolk Council’s Indoor Sports Facility Strategy, 2015-2031, the investment has been provided to create a resilient, healthy and active community whilst also providing opportunities for economic growth. The project was managed by Alliance Leisure and procured through the UK Leisure Framework.

Tom Fairey, continues: “It is incredible what has been achieved through a reallocation of space across two floors of the 3,097 square foot building. We retained 2-courts in the sports hall and the rest of the space – equivalent to 3 courts, has been remodelled to create a vibrant XHeight Adventure Climbing facility and soft play zone like nothing else available locally. The community was lacking a facility where families could enjoy time together. This development has successfully addressed this issue.”

The development works have also incorporated the Self Centre Health and Wellbeing facility. This area is served by its own, dedicated waiting space and houses three studios, used mainly for holistic classes such as Pilates and Yoga, plus 5 therapy rooms. The facility’s main occupier is Allied Health Professionals (Suffolk) who are the NHS commissioned provider of MSK physiotherapy services. In addition to enhancing the community wellness offer, this provides a rental opportunity for Abbeycroft Leisure, creating a consistent, new, revenue stream.

The gym has been relocated, extended and kitted out with Matrix Fitness equipment plus a large, new studio space has been created which can be separated into two by a central, sliding wall. Space previously dedicated to two under-used squash courts has been reallocated to house a dedicated group cycle studio and modern ‘hot desk’ office space for staff.

Male and female changing rooms have been completely renovated to create a modern ‘changing village’ and a Paddy and Scott café has been incorporated to create a social hub where families and individuals can enjoy a wide selection of quality food and beverages.

Speaking of the development, Warren Smyth, CEO Abbeycroft Leisure, says: “The leisure centre has been completely remodelled to reflect the needs of our modern day community. Since the development completed in January, we have attracted a 32% increase in footfall and revenue is up 16 per cent for the first quarter. We are also seeing uptake from a much wider demographic.

“Based on our experience, I would encourage any Local Authority with an ageing leisure stock to explore opportunities. Tired facilities with a disconnect to the community are a huge drain on already limited resource but we have proved, even with limited capital investment, it is possible to create a sustainable environment which reengages the community and delivers economic, health and social benefits.

“In these times of austerity, we need to look for creative ways to better serve our communities and, working with Alliance Leisure and West Suffolk Council, this is exactly what we have done here.”

Haverhill Transformation Completed

Alliance Leisure have successfully completed a £1.5m transformation of Haverhill Leisure Centre for West Suffolk Council and Abbeycroft Leisure.  The project has already been hailed a huge success, delivered on time and within budget via the UK Leisure Framework.

New users of all ages packed out the new facilities on opening weekend. The centre remained open to the public throughout the 7 month build project which included:

  • XHeight Adventure Climbing
  • Soft Play
  • Indoor Parkour
  • new enlarged Gym
  • Studios
  • Changing Rooms
  • Paddy & Scott’s café
  • Self-Centre Health & Wellbeing facility, including 3 x Studios and 7 x Treatment Rooms
  • New Reception & circulation areas
  • New Sports Hall floor for the local school!

 

Watch this space for more photos of this outstanding development, and the full story…

Play Hub and Cycle Studio Opens in Carmarthenshire

In a bid to get more children and adults more active, Carmarthenshire County Council has invested almost half a million pounds to reinvigorate its leisure provision and create new inspiring spaces for all age groups.

Obesity is a huge problem in Wales . According to the National Survey of Wales (2016-2017), 59 per cent of adults are overweight and 23 per cent are obese. The Child Measurement Programme also reports 26 per cent of reception aged children are obese compared to 22 per cent in England.

Councillor Peter Hughes-Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Leisure, says: “We need to get the population of Wales moving. To do this we must provide inspiring, accessible and diverse activity spaces. Earlier this year, we engaged Alliance Leisure to evaluate the current offer at Carmarthen Leisure Centre and to provide advice and guidance on what could be done to encourage more of the local population to visit. Alliance Leisure has extensive experience of injecting new life into tired leisure facilities and we were excited to explore what could be achieved in Carmarthen. When we saw the plans and  worked through the financials, we knew this was a project that we had to get underway.”

In August 2018 works began on transforming the under-utilised gymnastics hall into an inspiring, 3-tier, 210 square metre children’s play area and café.

The new environment has been supplied by industry experts, Play Revolution, and is designed to encourage children aged 0 to 12 years to climb, hide and slide their way around a matrix of visually stimulating features including tunnels, stepping stones, rope bridges and slides. The area also incorporates a dedicated area for 0-3 year olds. The play space is supported by a new café and lounge area where parents can gather to supervise their children whilst enjoying a range of high quality snacks and beverages.

Carl Daniels, Senior Actif Sport and Leisure Manager, says: “Before the development the gymnastics hall welcomed around £4,000 profit per year.  In our first month of opening, the new play area is proving to be on target to generate circa £80k income in play centre.

It’s not just the youngsters who have been treated to new facilities. The development has also created a new spin studio. Located in Carmarthen Leisure Centres it’s kitted out with 30 top of the range IC7 Life Fitness spin bikes, this 85 square metre facility has been  equipped with state of the art audio and lighting systems to create a stimulating ride like nothing else on offer in the local area.

Carl Daniels, Senior Actif Sport and Leisure Manager adds: “The new cycle studio is awesome and out shines any other facility in the area. The community has fully embraced the experience. We have had to significantly expand the provision to meet demand, but with such high quality non-instructed/virtual classes through the Myride® system we can increase class numbers without a significant increase in costs.”

The development works completed this month and were managed through the UK Leisure Framework, owned and operated by Denbighshire District County Council with Alliance Leisure as lead contractor.

Julia Goddard, Senior Business Development Manager and project lead at Alliance Leisure concludes: “This project has given the leisure centre a new lease of life and made leisure services available to new audiences who were otherwise disengaged. The play area in particular adds a whole new dimension to the offering. In addition to providing a safe, secure space for children to play and explore, it also offers an attractive space for people to meet and socialise.”

ALLIANCE APPOINTED AS DEVELOPMENT PARTNER ON THE CHARD REGENERATION PROJECT

South Somerset District Council has appointed leisure development specialists, Alliance Leisure, to work with multi award-winning architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR, to build a brand-new leisure and community facility in Chard’s Town Centre.  The new leisure and community facilities will be at the heart of the Chard Regeneration project.

Julia Goddard, Senior Business development Manager at Alliance Leisure, said: “Over the next few months we will work closely with architects AHR to produce outline plans for the overall development. We will also create full design plans for the new leisure centre, aiming for submission by July 2019. Once planning permissions are granted, works will start on the demolition of the factories and warehouses.”

Karle Burford, director at AHR, said “We are thrilled to be working with the Council on the proposals to bring forward a mixed-use community scheme, redeveloping the historic Boden Mill site that includes the former ACI factory site.

Our shared vision to instil the historic nature of the town within the design is integral to the project, and we look forward to harmonising the old with the new. The first phase of the scheme will be designing the brand-new leisure centre, with modern facilities for families to enjoy for years to come.”

The new leisure centre will offer a diverse array of facilities to meet the health and wellbeing needs of the community. These are likely to include: a 25 metre swimming pool; a gym; group exercise studios; an adventure play area; changing rooms and a café.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for the Chard Regeneration Scheme and Deputy Leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “Feedback from a series of public consultations has revealed that people want the development to include: a leisure centre with swimming pool; more places to eat and socialise; improved leisure opportunities for young people; green open spaces and opportunities for small, independent retailers to thrive.  We are working with Alliance Leisure to help plan and build this vision.

Alex Parmley the Chief Executive Officer at South Somerset District Council said “Alliance Leisure has years of experience delivering modern leisure developments in tune with community needs. Our new partnership, through the Leisure Framework, will ensure we deliver a mix of facilities and services which offer the local population most value both now and in the future.”

The Boden Mill itself will be redeveloped into a culture and public sector hub with a library, satellite museum, with the police, council and other local service providers who are also likely to be housed in the new facility. Conversion of the upper floors will create a number of residential units for rent or purchase.

All surrounding areas will be landscaped to create an attractive public realm that can be used for social gatherings, public art and community events. The nearby Holyrood Lace Mill will also transformed into a residential development offering a much needed housing solution.

The works will be carried out in phases starting with the new leisure centre and will complete at the end of 2020, subject to planning approval in summer 2019.

BATLEY SPORTS & TENNIS CENTRE LAUNCHES TECH DRIVEN PLAY AND ACTIVITY HUB

Work has completed at Batley Sports Centre, in Kirklees, creating a 12,000 sq.ft. physical activity and adventure hub to engage youngsters and families of all ages.

Charitable trust Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) has invested £1.5 million in the project, delivered by Alliance Leisure under the UK Leisure Framework. The investment has been committed to create a sustainable physical activity hub which will appeal to a wider section of the local community.

The new facility results from a reconfiguration of the existing site with two indoor courts transformed into a vibrant play and activity zone, utilising the latest technological innovations designed to motivate and engage tech savvy youngsters.

The site has become the first public sector facility to offer TAG active®, a ground-breaking, ‘trainers on’ adventure facility. KAL have named the TAG active® facility ‘  X’ which sits under their ‘Days Out’ brand designed to create awareness of the family attractions available to those within Kirklees and the surrounding West Yorkshire area.

Players must use physical movement, speed, agility and strategy to locate and reach hidden transponder boxes. Once found, the box is ‘Tagged’ using an electronic chip imprinted in a wristband. Each time a player tags a box, points are awarded.

Electronic scoreboards keep a real-time track of how individuals are performing, with music and mood lighting to enhance the atmosphere and create an exciting, stimulating environment which encourages mental and physical prowess.

TAG active® caters for youngsters, with statistics recorded at other centres showing the highest engagement by 11-14 year olds. This facility will be complemented by an Adventure Play zone for toddlers through to seven years old.

The redevelopment of Batley Tennis Centre is part of KAL’s mission to provide engaging, accessible recreation facilities and services which respond to the ever evolving needs of a very diverse community. Batley Tennis Centre is one of 13 leisure sites managed by KAL on behalf of Kirklees Council. Since the formation of the Trust in 2002, more than £20 million has been invested by KAL and Kirklees Council with every surplus pound reinvested into leisure provision.

Barry Turnbull, Business Development at KAL, says: “KAL is absolutely committed to developing and sustaining healthier, happier and fitter communities. The indoor adventure area means we have something new to offer the younger generation. A place where families can come together to enjoy physical activity. Encouraging physical literacy at an early age is absolutely vital if we are to address the growing inactivity crisis. Youngsters need to be provided with spaces which enthuse and encourage movement. This investment has been committed to achieve just that.”

James Foley, Commercial Director at Alliance, says: “This site is a great example of a council stepping up to the plate when it comes to engaging the latest innovations to encourage an active community. The Adventure Play zone and TAG X will completely transform the facility, bringing vibrancy, sensorial stimulation and an opportunity for youngsters to test their mental and physical skills in a unique fun, safe and exciting environment.”

Batley Sports and Tennis Centre continues to offer tennis across four outdoor and two indoor courts. Facilities are also supported by changing facilities, a café and seating area.

Tim Harvey, regional director at ISG, which is delivering the construction project on behalf of Alliance Leisure, adds: “Our partners at Alliance Leisure have consistently demonstrated their expertise driving increased footfall to leisure facilities, by redesigning and upgrading leisure provision at existing sites. This is key to making centres more attractive and therefore better utilised by the local communities they serve.”