Why Worthing’s new pool will cost £17.9m

Horley Leisure Centre
Horley Leisure Centre
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MOVEABLE floors and nice sea views are among Worthing Borough Council’s reasons why its new £17.9 million swimming pool is costing twice as much as its recently-opened counterpart at Horley.

A Herald reader has questioned the value of Worthing’s Aquarena replacement, compared with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s leisure centre development at Horley, which cost a total of £9million.

Both designs incorporate a 25-metre, six-lane main pool, and children’s teaching pool facilities.

The Horley centre also includes a full-length ramp for wheelchair users to independently access the pool, while disabled changing rooms are fitted with electronic hoists to assist carers with severely disabled people.

As well as swimming facilities, the Horley venture has a 45-station gym, a multi-purpose sports hall and a dance studio.

Like the Worthing project, Horley’s has a “green” heating/cooling system – in this case a biomass unit which uses waste wood chippings – instead of Worthing’s geo-thermal operation – plus solar panels on the roof.

It also has 155 on-site parking spaces, shared with the local football club.

When the Herald quizzed Worthing council on the comparative values of the two developments, resources cabinet member Steve Waight said there were plenty of differences: “The Horley site is not restricted like ours or adjacent to an existing building that needs to stay operational at all times. The site is not in a prominent position on a main road into town, it is not next to a grade 2* listed building (Beach House) and alongside an important public park. The site is not directly on the seafront.

“Architecturally and environmentally, all of these have an impact on the design and specification of the building, as does our requirement for a high-quality, iconic design (I would suggest Horley looks very much like the standard municipal pool members never wanted, it won’t be winning any awards).”

Mr Waight added that Worthing would have moveable floors for the learner pool/diving pool and the same-size competition pool, with the additional features of:

- A leisure pool with flume, water features, beach area, etc.

- An elevated outdoor terrace with an external paddling pool.

- A health and fitness suite with 100 stations rather than Horley’s 45, and overlooking the sea

- A spa area overlooking the sea

- Two studios, as opposed to Horley’s one, overlooking the sea, plus a café.

Mr Waight added: “However, we do not have a 150-space car park (I don’t know how much of this is new or in the quoted cost, though), and we do not have specific changing facilities for the severely disabled (although this is subject to some further considerations).”