Thursday, 17 December 2020

Palmer Park swimming pool planning application submitted

It's 4 years since Reading Labour councillors closed Arthur Hill swimming pool. Still no swimming pool in east Reading, but a planning application has now gone in.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) the organisation that Reading Labour Council were planning on outsourcing leisure to – before the pandemic – have put in for planning permission for a swimming pool in Palmer Park. You can view all of the documents and respond here.

At the moment there is still no contract between the council and GLL (Green councillors have been concerned about plans to outsource leisure rather than running it in-house).

A large number of documents make up the planning application and it will take us a while to get through them. I have had a quick look though as I know many residents are concerned about the loss of green space. We share these concerns and have lobbied for no green space to be lost. I have posted some plans from the planning application below.

Please let us know what you think.

This is the current footprint with 209 spaces in the car park is:

Below is the worst option from when the council consulted on council plans (development framework) a little while ago showing an expanded car park with 230 parking spaces:

This is the current planning application showing a reduced car park with 131 parking spaces:

When we have read through and got to grips with the application I will post some more detail here. In the meantime have a look and let me know what you think.

UPDATE 1: the planning documents clarify that "...992 square metres...0.6% of the overall greenspace provision at the park" will be lost to the development.

UPDATE 2: It looked like one of the large limes on the Palmer Park Avenue side of the park was going to be removed, but thanks to residents raising it and Greens lobbying on this the plans will be amended to save the tree.

UPDATE 3: Planning permission has been granted.


. said...

Overall I think this is a fabulous thing for the area to support residents in the East of Reading and everyone should be for it.

I agree that outsourcing should not be the way forward and it should be council-run and managed. But that is down to council politics where us normal residences does not get much say.

As a resident that uses the park a lot, I have little concern losing a bit of the green space to parking for people that would need to travel to the facilities as they expand. It is needed as it can get incredibly busy there on club sports nights and parking looks like a nightmare for those involved.

If I would be so bold to say that to original plans were better than the revised ones which remove approximately 80 car park spaces from the facility. I feel that they should go back to the original plan but using the green parking spaces rather than tarmac. If the revised plan is adopted, this is going to make life harder for the uses of the park in general use as well as the sports facilities. Not what I call the good promotion of healthier living if you can not get into the facilities. And before we start on people taking public transport the facilities, that brings me to my next point.

The proposed changes to the car park are also a good idea and will make it safer for people using the other facilities like the all-weather pitches as they do not have to cross the car park itself. I have seen many children run out from between cars which is not great. So losing a bit of the grass is good for health and safer benefits.

One final point on the car park, please do not bring in pay and display there, we want people to use the parks and open space area. It's bad enough with all the park permit schemes around town. Give something pack to use residence. Also take into account of preventing other events happening there, like people parking up in caravans for prolonged periods.

Another factor which should be taken on board is the lighting from the centre towards the St Peters Area is lighting. The paths are not flat and with improved lighting, this would make the area safer for people using the area later in the evening or at night. Also, you may want to make one of them wider so walkers and cyclists can co-exist a bit better.

So let us get our priorities straight here, we the residences like to have facilities we can use. We like being active and if it means giving up a small percentage of grass to ensure we have enough space to park and use the facilities so be it, (or build a multi-level car park). Let's see this proposal approved and the work started ASAP, please.

Unknown said...

I'm very supportive of the pool andlike the revised plan but would not want to go back to the enlarged carpark. The space on the south side of the park is well used by football teams, families kite fliers, etc. It's a more relaxed area. What is proposed seems spot on to me.

Rob White said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Rob

Unknown said...

With the long time span, at least 7 years for the new pool to come to fruition - I think it's unforgiveable that the council closed Arthur Hill Pool with no new pool in place. Or at a minimum a pop up pool.

A whole generation of children will miss out on swimming which is a vital life skill.

I also think with Reading's ever expanding waistline (population) that a 50m pool was required (on The Rivermead site). This would have been fantastic for the town and Reading Swimming Club. However, we have a council with a make do attitude which is rather sad.

I'm sure it'll be lauded once opened but we should not forget the complete and utter shambles that it took to get there. I'm also not convinced it'll be ready by 2023 (the completion date keeps increasing). We've already seen GLL Leisure fail with the Oasis Leisure centre in Swindon.

It's still worrying times that all this will fall through. I have no confidence in Reading Borough Council at all, given all their failings over the years.