Larkfield Leisure Centre
By Anita Oakley
Larkfield Leisure Centre is set to close for swimming in the main pool for about 36 weeks from October 2019 to May 2020. This will enable work to go ahead on replacing the boilers with more efficient ones (last done 1981) and the air handling system too (last looked at in 1991). At the same time replacement of the
polycarbonate pool hall barrel vault roof will be undertaken.
The Centre was opened in the early 80s and the polycarbonate roof was last replaced in the early 1990s. The framework though is original so that will be fully restored. The new roof will be more thermally efficient but to do the work requires there to be a full scaffolding structure in place underneath it.
Although not for this contract, Borough Councllors are pressing for solar panels to be installed to enable the centre to have a lower carbon footprint. These are being considered for the flat Sports Hall roof.
Whilst the Leisure Trust has full control over the running of the Centre, the building is still owned and maintained by the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council. The refurbishment works will therefore be fully funded by the Borough Council from its capital expenditure budget. Works are expected to cost in the region of £2m.
The Leisure Trust are keen to keep their swimming classes going and have found an innovative solution to the problem.
The 25 metre pool, which will remain in operation, will have a false floor installed so that novice swimmers will still be able to touch the bottom.
Anita said, 'It's fantastic for our local community to have this first class facility on their doorstep. The fact that the Borough Council are prepared to make this significant investment is amazing, considering that
other Councils are closing their pools. Working with the Leisure Trust to ensure residents have access to the Leisure Pass scheme for families makes it a facility that can be enjoyed by everyone.'