Chilterns Lifestyle Centre Opens to the Community

Desco delivered the mechanical, electrical and pool water services design for the new £36M Chilterns Liftestyle Centre for Buckinghamshire Council in Amersham which opened to the community last week. The newly constructed centre was built to replace the existing aging complex and provide a new state-of-the-art venue boasting a fantastic array of facilities.

The Centre includes an eight lane, 25 metre swimming pool, diving pool, teaching pool alongside a children’s splash pad area, dry diving training facility, 130 station state-of-the-art gym, group cycling studio, group exercise studios, mind & body studio, sports hall, squash courts, climbing wall, bouldering facilities, clip ‘n climb, children’s soft play area and luxury spa and treatment facilities. The scheme also includes a library, community centre, café, pre-school nursery and function rooms for hire, all under one roof.

The ground floor includes a double height internal ‘street’, with views of the pool hall and access to the community hall, library, clip n climb and soft play area. The pool hall is located on the ground floor with an 8 lane 25m pool and changing village, splash pad, diving and training pool / floating floor. A variety of activities are located on the lower ground floor level including spa facilities, climbing wall, squash courts, dry diving room and a four-court sports hall with associated dry change facilities.

Located on the first floor is the large fitness suite, with views of the park, along with the dance and yoga studios and both changing areas. The pre-school nursery is also located on the first floor, with 2 classrooms and associated staff facilities.

To support the aspirations of Buckinghamshire Council to develop a sustainable, low carbon leisure centre the Council received funding by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme operated by Salix, to install water source heat pumps and 410 roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels at the new centre making it significantly more energy efficient than the existing Chiltern Pools building.

The PV system is the most efficient model available and contributes significantly to the energy efficiency and sustainability of the brand new building and to the council’s priorities in relation to climate change and sustainability. The building has been carefully designed to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the council’s facilities.

One of the sustainable design features of the scheme is the use of reclaimed heat from the gym and studios area to heat the pools utilising water source heat pumps. The council are using one of the most energy efficient heating technologies available to heat the two swimming pools and the atmosphere within the pool hall. The water source heat pumps are a heat recovery system which utilises heat generated elsewhere in the building. The system is highly efficient and could save up to 170,000kg of Co2 equivalent compared to traditional gas boiler systems.

The project was constructed throughout 2020/2021, during which time the UK was experiencing lockdowns and many COVID restrictions. The successful completion of the scheme was a testament to the collaborative approach from both the construction and design teams alongside the client which enabled works to continue on site when safe to do so and also following all Government guidelines and advice to ensure the health and safety of all involved.

We delivered RIBA Stages 1 to 6, working alongside the client and design team including architect, structural and civil engineer, QS and Project Manager.