Winchester’s new Sport & Leisure Park is entering a new phase of construction which will see the completed centre accessible to all. The building is now weather-proof and key features are being installed to meet the needs of all users, who can enjoy the state-of-the-art facilities, at a recreational or therapeutic level or as elite athletes.
Work to ensure easy access to the site has been completed from Bar End Road and road access and parking will be complemented by improved cycle routes and footpaths. Aspects of the centre for those with disabilities include door openings designed for sports wheelchairs, an independent access point to the hydrotherapy and physiotherapy suite and all parts of the building benefitting from natural daylight as well as artificial lighting and acoustic modelling to support those with visual and hearing impairments. Contrasting shades and colours of surfaces between the floors and walls will also provide additional definition and ease of use for those with visual impairment.
The fitness and conditioning suite is being built at a single level to provide step-free access and the open sports hall will be installed with acoustic screening and a treatment applied to all surfaces. These measures are designed to provide a better experience for spatially affected users and those with hearing impairment.
The 50m pool – designed to cater for national competitions, mixed groups and varying training levels – boasts several features, including enhanced acoustic treatment to enable coaching and easy communication without excessive background noise. A ‘warm-up and cool-down training pool’ will be fully submersible with a self-control lift into the water and a mobile floor benefitting from steps instead of ladders. The poolside platform lift will allow the use of fully reclined flatbed trollies and wheelchairs to accommodate paraplegic, tetraplegic and bariatric users and competitors will benefit from Swiss Timing technology, which generates both visual and audible signals.
The changing facilities all include two metre-wide routes which have been carefully planned to facilitate ease of movement for guests with disabilities and those accompanying them and across the building. There will also be accessible toilets, showers, adjustable basins and step-free access to all areas.
Cllr Malcolm Prince, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Communities and Winchester City Council, said:
Our new Sport & Leisure Park will provide the very best experience that residents, athletes and trainers should expect from a state-of-the-art centre with first-class services within walking distance of Winchester’s city centre.
Providing safe and secure access and usage of the centre is at the heart of everything we’re doing, regardless of ability and it is integral that we provide a facility in the district that treats everyone with the dignity and support they deserve.
Alison Norman, Area Contract Manager at Everyone Active, commented:
At Everyone Active, we pride ourselves on creating equal opportunities for all and the brand new Winchester Sport & Leisure Park supports these values wholeheartedly.
We are continuing to work hard with Winchester City Council and our partner, Willmott Dixon, to ensure that every aspect of the build is completed to the highest quality. We look forward to seeing how the local community will benefit from all the fantastic facilities we have to offer.