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  • Writer's pictureCarolineShah

Has Kingston Council made the new leisure centre "family-friendly" as we said we wanted it to be?

Kingston council's consultation for a new leisure centre did not give us all the facts

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 and yet blames failures of the leisure centre upon choices it says we made

But were the choices we were beings asked to make clear?

You decide

Here is the second of a series of questions. This question regards the claimed family -friendliness of the new leisure centre

Question Two: Is the proposed new leisure centre “family-friendly”?

Kingston Council did not tell us:

· The new facility will not have creche facilities, which The Kingfisher does have

· The new facility will not have a bouncy castle which The Kingfisher does have

· The size of the soft play area in comparison to that provided at The Kingfisher

· The toddler pool in the proposed new centre is tiny, compared to a significantly larger (at least 55%) play area at The Kingfisher

· The Kingfisher pool has a wave machine and Hippo Leisure Water Factory which the new toddler pool does not

· The proposed toddler pool is completely separate from the other two pools making safe family use impossible

· The new leisure centre will result in a loss of 60% of the freely-accessible outdoor space currently available at The Kingfisher and over 25% of outdoor space even taking the roof top areas in to consideration

· The “improved” outdoor playground is being at least part-funded by other new developments, such as recently-approved residential development above Wilkos which has no outdoor space of its own for residents and was required by condition to make a financial contribution to equipment in the playground and the residents of which will use this area as their garden

· The outdoor playground that currently serves a fairly stable population will need to serve thousands more residents from Kingston Town and Norbiton Wards

· There will be absolutely no parking near the facility to cater for families

· At weekends, there is a limited bus service from south of the Borough to the centre and only two trains an hour from Norbiton and New Malden

· Coaches dropping off at the centre will be turning via three point turns over a pedestrian area between the playground and the leisure centre. There is only provision for one coach to turn at any one time and this could be dangerous for pedestrians on-site and on Fairfield Road, particularly when there are many coaches waiting to turn around in the leisure centre

· The number of coaches that are expected to be accessing the pedestrian area to turn when swimming, netball, football, squash or other competitions are taking place and how children and other people’s safety will be managed at these times

A full comparison of the facilities at The Kingfisher and the proposed new leisure centre can be found here

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 "family-friendliness" of the proposed leisure centre, please donate to the fundraiser now to see if there are legal grounds to ask the council to reconsider its plans

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