Overview of proposed facilities
Initial concept designs for New Belfast Leisure Centres are currently out for consultation and here are some of our first thoughts on the Andersonstown proposals....
- Belfast City Council are to be commended on their committment to invest £105m over the next 10 years in the City's Leisure Centre infrastructure
- Good to see 25m x 6 lane pool with floating floor however of course we would have preferred 25m x 8 lane pool
- Only 50 spectators seating is disappointing and it looks like single line seating is to be located on the floor above the pool area and probably behind glass (similar to Falls). This may be aesthetically pleasing from an architectural design point of view however it is definitely not a 'user friendly' arrangement, as already experienced at Falls, with too few spectators (should be at least 200 for water based events e.g. schools gala's, water polo matches, lifesaving events, holiday scheme events etc.) being placed behind plate glass and physically separated from the activity they wish to view. Problems with spectator accommodation not meeting the needs of users has previously the subject of prolonged discussion amongst user groups and elected Councillors in relation to the Grove Wellbeing Centre which resulted in the Council examining options to retrofit more acceptable spectator arrangements, however this proved an impossible task, given the physical structures in place within the built structure. Therefore, the Council should deal appropriately with this matter now before the facility is built!
- There is also a need to install a net curtain or other separation arrangement, particularly between the 25m pool and the Leisure Pool and also between the 25m pool and what appears to be a glass wall (Andersonstown Road end) .....and perhaps also between the 25m pool and the Learner Pool to ensure that water polo balls do not stray towards these areas from the 25m pool, although this looks the more challenging amendment given the current pool hall design.
- Additionally, there would appear to be a break in the side wall of the pool (changing room side), presumably this is an access/egress point, however this should be designed in such a way as to not interfere with the pool lines either above or below water level e.g. capable of being ‘sectioned off’ to create a pool lane border with no steps protruding under the water level which would provide a kicking hazard for water polo players.
- From a water polo perspective, we would like to be consulted on matters such as installation of match timing equipment, accommodation arrangements for fitting of water polo goal posts etc., on the pool deck side and lastly arrangements for Club storage of water polo equipment e.g., balls, training aids etc.
- Finally, in terms of the management of this new build project from a caring for customers perspective, we will be keen to receive confirmation that our Tuesday evening junior water polo session, which has been in place since the Andersonstown Leisure Centre opened in 1979, will be accommodated within the new leisure centre and how interim arrangements can be made to provide alternative pool time during the period of construction.
These are just our initial observations which we will submit to Belfast City Council; there may well be others who have additional recommendations and all should make their voices heard.
The Council are consulting presently on these designs and we would encourage all water polo supporters to respond and try to influence some positive changes to this current concept.
Here are links to the concept design plans for:
Here is the link to Consultation at the Councils website for Andersonstown Leisure Centre consultation
To email your consultation feedback on any/all of the proposed concept design plans to Belfast City Council use firstname.lastname@example.org
HAVE YOUR SAY NOW.....before it's too late!
Download a copy of our full response to Belfast City Council Here
Andersonstown Leisure Centre Pool Hall - Concept Design