Lockdown fails to pull the plug on swimming pool progress

Swimming pools have been among some of the hardest hit facilities during the COVID-19 crisis.

However, while everyone from Olympic athletes to leisure swimmers wait to get back in the water, we’ve been surging ahead. In fact, our work for Total Swimming – the organisation that uses state-of-the-art permanent and temporary pools to offer swimming for all – has not stopped for breath.

Our plans to create a 20m x 10m pool at the Dukeries Leisure Centre in Ollerton have achieved full planning permission from Newark and Sherwood District Council. The design includes changing facilities and is already being extended to include a link building from the existing sports complex (subject to an ongoing planning application).

Meanwhile, despite lockdown restrictions, we’re progressing a remote planning application with Havering Council in East London for a new sports centre in Rainham. The new facility will include a six-lane swimming pool, 72-station fitness suite and dance studio and will be the ninth collaboration between Box Architects and Total Swimming.

Both projects are great examples of how planning consultations on major applications is possible remotely with an engaged design team and a proactive client. Since we all started working from home, we’ve delivered two pre-application presentations and a Quality Panel Review for Rainham. Following feedback and refinement, the design is now ready for its final pre-submission hurdle with Havering’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Speedy progress has been possible by our experience of working with Total Swimming in Andover and at Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in Dagenham. But there have been other benefits too, with reduced travel freeing up time for the creative process, and reducing our team’s overall carbon footprint.