Posted: 17.11.21 at 11:12 by Ellie Brown
THE LATEST designs for a new multi-million pound leisure centre in Kingston to replace the Kingfisher building have been revealed by the Council.
Images released to the Council's 'Transform Kingston' website show what the outside of the sleek modern centre could look like including a refreshed outdoor playground and an open air 'link' to Kingston Museum.
Detailed mock-ups of the inside have also been released, including CGI depictions of the three main pools plus the sports hall, gym, roof terrace and climb and climb facilities.
A new survey on the plans has opened and the Council has said a planning application for the new centre will be submitted early next year.
Proposals for the neighbouring Cattle Market car park have also been updated, but in less detail.
The pictures used to illustrate a plan of the site indicate that it will be used for high-rise housing, though the height of the new builds has not been shown.
The Council say that more detailed proposals on this will be released in 2022 and a separate planning application put in for the site.
New council leader Andreas Kirsch said: "I’m really excited about the initial plans, developed based on feedback from people all over the borough.
"It will be a leisure centre and community space that brings people together, truly a facility for all.
"It is the centrepiece of Kingston’s heritage led regeneration programme - a leisure centre fit for the future that is even better and more accessible than what we have now."
He added: "As the final phase of our early engagement begins, we really want to hear from as many people as possible, from all our diverse communities.
"This is your leisure centre, it is your Kingston, and we want to know what is most important to you. I want as many people as possible to have their voices heard and influence the final designs, so we get it right - for everyone."
The new plans have had a mixed response online so far.
Local ecological consultant and blogger Alison Fure was sceptical about the new centre's green credentials.
On Twitter she called the design: "A stealth vehicle for more overdevelopment.
"It removes yet more green space & is far removed from the sentiments of Climate emergency declared in 2019; how does it comply with the Mayors urban greening factor as it presents as a sea of hard landscaping ?"
The plans also come as a campaign to stop the Kingfisher from being knocked down gains traction.
Kingston resident Caroline Shah, a vocal opponent of the Transform Kingston plans, last month crowdfunded over £3,000 to pay for a legal opinion on the demolition of the centre.
The solicitors have now sent a letter to the Council with grounds for challenging its decision to approve knocking the Kingfisher down.
A response from the authority is expected some time this week and the Council have also agreed not to demolish the centre for at least 2 weeks after they reply to the letter.
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