Credit: Saunders Boston ArchitectsLeicester City Council has engaged Alliance Leisure to convert a sports hall into a flexible workout space. The project is part of a £2.3 million leisure regeneration scheme which incorporates redevelopment works at three leisure centres across the city.

Cossington Street Sports Centre and Evington Leisure Centre  will undergo substantial modernisation to create physical activity environments more in-line with the needs of the communities they service. Aylestone Leisure Centre will involve a remodelling of the fitness space. Works will roll out from this month, starting at Cossington Street Sports Centre, and aim to complete by the end of this year.

All works are being delivered via the UK Leisure Framework, owned by Denbighshire Council and Managed by Denbighshire Leisure.  Leading the design will be Saunders Boston Architects.

“Cossington Street Sports Centre is currently dominated by a traditional  3 court sports hall which will be transformed into a highly versatile fitness space,” says Tom Fairey, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure. “The current gym provision is very small, occupying only 50  square metres across two small rooms. The newly created fitness space will be 370 square metres larger, incorporating 50 training stations  and will be defined by moveable storage partitions ensuring the configuration can be easily changed to accommodate a range of fitness activities. The current gym rooms will be knocked into one, creating a second versatile ‘Programmable Gym’ space.

“The default set up will accommodate a fully equipped gym and free weight section, with a studio space defined by a specialist sprung floor, half height partitioning plus independent lighting and audio systems. If there is a demand for a larger group exercise space, the partitions can be removed to enable the incorporation of more floor space from the main gym area. This innovation provides a high level of flexibility and helps to future proof the development against changing market trends moving forwards.”

The changing spaces will be reconfigured and modernised, plus the entrance will be relocated to create a more welcoming space for visitors.

Andrew Beddow, Head of Sport Services Leicester City Council, says: “The current facility mix no longer reflects the needs of the community. In consultation with Alliance Leisure, through the UK Leisure Framework, we have designed a solution which will solve these issues and enable more local people to benefit from our leisure services.”

Development works at Evington Leisure Centre are set to begin in April 2020 and will include the addition of a single storey 280 square metres extension to create a 310 square metres Gym space, over twice the size of the existing provision.

“The local school utilises this facility so the sports hall still delivers value as a multi-sports facility,” explains Fairey. “This meant we couldn’t reconfigure existing floor space to increase the size of the gym. Instead we had to extend the footprint.”

In addition to a 70 station gym, the works will also incorporate two new studios – one to house group exercise and one to house group cycle, with redecoration throughout.

The final phase of this project will see the separate free weight gym and the main gym space united at Aylestone Leisure Centre, creating a much more welcoming and user friendly, open plan training space.

Speaking of the investment, Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair, who leads on culture, leisure and sport, says: “Our leisure centres are hugely valued by local people and play a very important role in health promotion across the city. We are making this major investment in facilities to encourage more people to active and help improve the health and wellbeing of our local communities.”