Modern & Energy Efficient Leisure Facilities Progressing Well

Work to provide new modern and energy-efficient leisure facilities at the Hydro in Harrogate and in Knaresborough are progressing well.

Following Harrogate Borough Council’s commitment to ensure people move more, live well and feel great; the existing facility in Harrogate is being refurbished to provide a 400sqm fitness suite, a new sauna and steam suite, improved reception and café and an overhaul of the existing gym and leisure facilities.

Outside, the building is being remodelled to provide a reconfigured car park, bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging points.

The existing gas boilers have already been replaced with air source heat pumps and 250 solar panels, as well as new metering and energy monitoring and control systems. These energy efficiency measures come following a successful bid from the borough council through the government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) public sector decarbonisation scheme, and are anticipated to half the carbon footprint of the leisure centre.

The diving structure is also being replaced so that it can continue to create and nurture future Olympians, such as Jack Laugher MBE and Oliver Dingley.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, and chair of the board of directors at Brimhams Active, said: “We want to create a healthier, more active population living longer, more independent and happier lives. And by investing significantly in creating new leisure facilities and refurbishing others, we’ll be able to deliver this vision.”

The strip-out of the internal fabric of the Hydro has revealed a number of areas that also require remedial attention. Namely some improvements to the fire protection of the steel frame, the addition of wall restraints, replacement of corroded steelwork, re-securing of soffit boarding and resolving air leakage and heat loss between the roof and the external walls.

Councillor Lumley added: “Refurbishment projects often discover things that need to be resolved to adhere to current building regulations. By carrying out the work now, the building can conform to the latest legislation and be as energy-efficient as possible, which will allow people across the Harrogate district to keep fit and active for many years to come.”

The project is scheduled to be completed by April with an opening in May, once staff have been trained on the new operating procedures.

The new Knaresborough Leisure and Wellness Centre is on target to open at the end of August 2023 as construction work has benefitted from good ground conditions and weather.

Once complete it will provide a six-lane 25metre pool, activity pool with flume, sauna and steam room, fitness suite and studio, spin studio, café, electric car charging points and bicycle storage.

It is being built to the BREEAM standard of ‘Excellent’ which provides third-party certification of the assessment of the sustainability and energy performance for buildings.

It will incorporate high efficiency building materials, air source heat pumps and solar panels to reduce the carbon footprint. Achieving this BREEAM accreditation will contribute to the council’s vision to have a net zero-carbon economy by 2038.

Once complete, the existing pool will close and be demolished, to be replaced by the new play area. This is due to take a further 15-weeks.

Like all of the borough council’s other leisure facilities, they will be managed day-to-day by Brimhams Active that has recently marked its first birthday.

Mark Tweedie, managing director of Brimhams Active, said: “This unprecedented level of investment from Harrogate Borough Council will allow Brimhams Active to further transform from a conventional leisure provider to a comprehensive health and wellbeing company and truly maximise its offer to residents across the Harrogate district.”

“And by doing so we can ensure people of all ages, from all walks of life, will be able to live a healthy lifestyle and stay active for longer.”