Reading’s new flagship leisure centre at Rivermead recently opened to the public, July 17.
The brand-new leisure centre will offer a 120-station gym with 3 studios, a 6-court sports hall with 250 spectator seats, toilets and changing facilities, soft play, reception area and café.
The new leisure facilities form part of the Council’s leisure investment of over £40m. This investment has already delivered improvements at South Reading Leisure Centre and Meadway Sports Centre, and the new Palmer Park Leisure Centre and Stadium with new 25m community pool which opened in 2022.
Max Associates were originally appointed by the Council in 2016 to support in the development of their strategic outcomes for leisure, which led to feasibility projects for significant developments for Rivermead and Palmers Park. Once the developments were agreed, a competitive DBOM procurement process was undertaken to find a suitable consortium to construct and then manage the centres. The sites, Rivermead Leisure Complex and Palmer Park are part of the 25-year DBOM contract awarded to GLL and partners.
Lisa Forsyth, Director at Max Associates, said: “The opening is excellent news for Reading residents. We are delighted to have supported Reading Borough Council through their leisure investment programme and procurement process to provide top-class facilities for Reading now and in the future.”
On Tuesday 25 July, a special celebration event will see the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Tony Page, alongside GLL’s Chief Executive Peter Bundey and special guest, local Olympic and world-class GBR rower, Rowan McKellar, unveil a plaque marking the opening.
Rowan will also be setting the benchmark for GLL’s ‘Race the Rower’ challenge, giving centre users the opportunity to compete against her time and be in with the chance to win a month’s free membership. This challenge will be running from 25 to 30 July celebrating not only the opening of the leisure centre but also GLL’s 30th birthday.
Rivermead’s modern facilities are designed with a focus on accessibility and sustainability, to benefit everyone in Reading. The Council is not only funding these new facilities, but also investing in targeted activities to reduce health inequalities.
Lead councillor for leisure and culture Adele Barnett-Ward said she was “delighted to have such a space in the community“.
“The centre has been built to the highest environmental standards and is designed to be welcoming and accessible to everyone regardless of fitness level or access needs,” she said.
Following a phased opening plan, the opening of new swimming pools with follow in summer 2024. This includes a 25m 8 lane competition pool and a teaching & diving pool, both with moveable floors, with more than 300 spectator seats (including 7 accessible wheelchair spaces), alongside splash pads for younger users.