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  • Writer's pictureCarolineShah

Does the proposed new Kingston leisure centre offer usable outstanding facilities for sports people?

In the "engagement" exercise on its proposals for a new leisure centre, Kingston Council did not tell us everything we needed to know to be able to answer their questions in an informed way

Here is the fourth in a series of questions that seek to explore if we, the residents of Kingston, had any idea of the implications of the choices we were being asked to make

Question Four:

How could we answer whether the proposed new leisure centre in Kingston will offer a good range of facilities which are outstanding for competitive swimmers, including for short course competitions, and for other sports people without all the facts?

Kingston Council did NOT tell us:

  • The provision of "outstanding facilities" for competitive swimmers and short course competitions and for other sports people mean Kingston Council must expect that many different competitions will happen at the centre. This will involve many coaches needing access to drop people off and pick up participants from different clubs at the leisure centre

  • The presence of a large number of coaches in Fairfield Road could particularly be an issue from a traffic and safety point of view given that there is no provision for parking or drop-offs at the leisure centre by car and there is only provision for drop-offs by two coaches at any one time on Fairfield Road. It is unclear where coaches will drop off and wait their turn to drop off

  • All coaches dropping off will have to turn around on a pedestrianised area within the new leisure centre. The area is next to two disabled parking bays which could be dangerous

  • Kingston Station is on a slow train line with infrequent services and which only services two other stations within the Borough - Norbiton and New Malden. Access for clubs by train will be challenging from outside the Borough

  • At weekends, and particularly on Sundays, when many competitions are likely to take place, there are extremely limited train services to Kingston Station

Rooftop Football Pitches

  • The roof top football pitch is too small to meet Football Association requirements and can therefore only have a limited range of outcomes. It is not an outstanding competitive facility

  • The football pitch is most likely to be used for commercial small-sided and adult recreational football

  • The Council has not considered whether this is the best location for a new leisure facility in Kingston

  • Residents were not consulted on alternative locations for a football pitch

  • There is no community use agreement with affordable pricing policy relating to use of the roof top football pitches

Here is what the Football Foundation said in its response to Kingston Council's planning application for a new leisure centre:

If you think Kingston Council did not tell us everything we needed to know in order to give proper answers to their questions about the facilities being offered in the proposed new leisure centre, donate to the fundraiser now to see if there are legal grounds to ask the council to reconsider its plans
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