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Splashes leisure centre, Rainham: drone pictures reveal progress on building work

Drone pictures have revealed the latest progress on an eagerly-anticipated multi-million-pound leisure centre.

Aerial footage shows how the construction of Splashes leisure centre in Bloors Lane, Rainham, is coming along – a year-and-a-half after the old building was demolished.

The new centre is scheduled to open next summer.

It will include a swimming pool with a range of features suitable for children and families, as well as a gym and exercise studio/party room, improved changing facilities and a café.

In June 2021, it was announced that the former leisure centre was to be demolished to stop it becoming an "eyesore" and to make way for a new facility.

The plans were revealed shortly after the council announced a £5 million revamp of the Bloors Lane pool had been put on hold because surveys of the site had identified issues with the structure.

The revamp also drew criticism from Labour councillors who noted how seven members of staff had been given redundancy notices in 2020.

Progress on the Splashes leisure centre in Rainham. Picture: Philip Drew
Progress on the Splashes leisure centre in Rainham. Picture: Philip Drew

Officers had deemed it was not financially viable to keep on some employees while the centre was shut during the pandemic.

In October last year, it was reported that spiralling costs had left Medway Council considering the future of the project. The unitary authority was considering whether to borrow another £7 million to keep redevelopment plans afloat.

This meant the total expected cost of the build would come to just under £25m – £20m more than estimated when plans for the initial refurbishment were first brought forward.

In December 2022, Willmott Dixon Construction Limited was appointed to build the state-of-the-art leisure centre which was then coming in at five times the initial cost at £23.65 million.

Progress on the Splashes leisure centre in Rainham. Picture: Philip Drew
Progress on the Splashes leisure centre in Rainham. Picture: Philip Drew

Construction began on the site in March of this year. The project is now due to cost just under £24 million.

Adam Worrall, the director of Willmott Dixon Ltd, said students from Waterfront UTC and The Howard School will be completing work experience on site, and two local college students will be working on the project throughout.

Cllr Harinder Mahil, the Medway Council’s portfolio holder for heritage, culture and leisure, said: “Works are progressing well to develop the new modern family-friendly sports centre in Rainham, which is anticipated to be open as early as next summer.

“The drone footage shows the foundations are nearing completion, with structural waterproof testing taking place on the lanes swimming pool. The construction team is now working on the leisure pool section of the development as well as completing the roof structure.

“As the project progresses, we are continuing to look into further renewable energy measures to help improve the long-term sustainability of the new sports centre.

“We continue to look forward to seeing the works progress and for this fantastic new facility to be available for Medway residents to enjoy.”

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