Why are you considering replacing Chiltern Pools?
Chiltern Pools is 53 years old and because of its design and condition it is becoming uneconomical to operate. Other buildings on the site are also aging and becoming expensive to operate, long term they will need replacing. The Chiltern Lifestyle Centre creates a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-provide all these facilities in a single building.
What facilities are being proposed?
8-lane 25 metre swimming pool with viewing
Diving / teaching pool alongside a kids' splash pad area
4 badminton court sports hall
2 x squash courts
Children's soft play area and clip 'n' climb
Pool Spectator area
150 station gym
Community centre (events/theatre space & community meeting spaces)
Why are you proposing these facilities?
The Council undertook an independent leisure study which identified the key facilities Chiltern District Council should provide if the existing Chiltern Pools leisure centre was to close.
When will the new leisure/community facility be built?
If planning permission is granted in January 2019, it is hoped for work to start soon after that.
What about providing appropriate infrastructure (car parks) and what will happen to the existing barn buildings?
The car park and protection of the barns have been key considerations and will be picked up and addressed through the planning process. The proposed development will provide 270 car parking spaces and because of the proposed location along King George V Road it will not impact on the historic barn buildings. It is also proposed to further enhance the barn buildings by surrounding them in a natural green landscaping.
Are there any images available of the proposed new facility?
The most recent version of these are currently being worked on and will be posted on this website www.chilternlifestylecentre.com as soon as they are available.
How much will the facility cost and will this affect my Council Tax bill?
The proposed project will require a significant capital investment and if progressed it will be financed by users of the centre which will result in no additional cost to council tax payers. Chiltern District Council is also seeking to attract external funding towards the project from a range of agencies including Sport National Governing Bodies, the National Lottery and Sport England.
If the project goes ahead what will happen to existing users groups of the youth club and Drake Hall buildings?
The Council will make every effort to minimise any disruption should a new facility be developed. The proposed site location ensures that the existing Drake Hall and youth club buildings would not be affected during the construction phase ensuring existing services and activities can continue without any disruption.
Where will the youth club go?
Chiltern District Council is working with the youth club to find them premises near to the site so they can also use the leisure facilities at the CLC.
Will facilities affected by the proposed development (library, play area, exercise zone and skate park) be provided during the construction stage?
All facilities affected by the proposed development (library, play area, exercise zone and skate park) will be re-provided on a different area of the site ahead of any redevelopment of the current site.
What about parking on the site?
At previous consultation events, 200 car parking spaces and 70 additional evening and weekend spaces were proposed within the scheme, which satisfied a significant majority of people. This is still the case in the latest version of the scheme.
The parking areas are in a single place adjacent to the building (with the exception of the evening/weekend spaces) and access routes are much more straightforward, which significantly improves the situation.
Traffic surveys have been completed and we are in discussions with the Highways Authority (Bucks County Council). However, initial considerations are that the proposed numbers are accommodating at all times.
There is the ability to increase the number of evening and weekend spaces in the future, should demand require it.
How do I comment on the proposals for the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre?
Members of the public will be given the opportunity to comment during the formal planning process. Once the planning application is submitted and validated by the local planning authority (the Council) it will be loaded onto the Public Access system with all the supporting documentation. Comments and representations about the planning application will need to be made through this. The link to this part of the Council’s website will be publicised when the application goes ‘live’. The formal planning consultation will be open for 13 weeks due to the size of the project.
There will be a planning officer leading on this application who will produce a report with a recommendation for the Planning Committee. It is expected that the planning application will be considered by the Planning Committee in January 2019.
What is a land swap and what level of protection will it provide to the green open space in the centre of Woodside Close?
The level of protection provided by the Fields in Trust Deed of Dedication goes beyond the town and country planning system. Planning control can be very good for protecting sites but national and local planning policies are subject to change. Pressure for development of urban open space, or open space on the urban fringe or in the countryside has never been greater. Fields in Trust use charity and contract law to establish binding agreements and commitments that protect valuable public recreation land. The Fields in Trust deed of dedication ‘creates a contractual interest in the land, protecting the usage of the site and installing the Trust essentially as a custodian, ensuring that the land is not disposed of. This protection can sit on top of any current protection or designation already in place but it is the most secure form of protection for open green space. This is due to Fields in Trust charitable objectives, namely to ensure provision of green recreational space, giving a contractual interest in a green space can only be seen as furthering protection of the land.’
What will happen to the existing leisure centre site?
When the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre opens in 2021, one of the final acts will be to demolish the existing Chiltern Pools leisure centre and to clear the site upon which it sits. This will leave an area of bare land of approximately half an acre.
Chiltern District Council is not yet able to inform residents of its exact intentions regarding how the site will be used. Councillors have asked that a study be commissioned to explore potential options as to how the site could be developed. This is a commercially focused exercise designed to consider how the site can best contribute to the overall costs of the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre. The study started in August 2018.
The study will consider a range of opportunities for the site, including further leisure provision, residential development and the creation of additional car parking. The options though are not limited to just these activities. The Council has asked that any other innovative or creative uses the appointed specialists can foresee are also presented.
The study itself will be used to inform future proposals. The final use of the land will be determined by Councillors representing the best interests of their communities, via the planning system in which residents will have the opportunity to directly input their thoughts and ideas.
Why is it proposed for only Amersham to get a new centre, what about the other areas in Chiltern - Chesham, Chalfont for instance?
Chiltern District Council undertook an independent leisure needs assessment which identified the need to retain the existing leisure centres in Chesham and Chalfont. The Council is committed to continue operating and investing in Chesham and Chalfont leisure centres. In the last year Chiltern District Council working in partnership with the leisure provider Greenwich Leisure Limited has invested in Chalfont and Chesham Leisure Centres improving the existing facilities. The Council is also considering what further improvements can be made to these two centres to support an improved offer to customers.
Because of the design and condition of Chiltern Pools it will be soon be un-economical to continue operating and this is why it is being considered for redevelopment.
Will we be able to see a model of the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre?
It is the Council's intention to consider developing a model of the new centre which will be available for the public to view once planning permission has been granted and the building design finalised.
Is there a restrictive Covenant on the site?
A restrictive covenant is an agreement between two parties where one of the parties agrees to restrict the use of its land for the benefit of the other. On the CLC site, owned by Chiltern District Council, a restrictive covenant is in place which restricts the owner’s use of the CLC land for the purposes of:
A civic centre or other like public service and/or
for recreation and/or open space in accordance with the Open Spaces Act 1906, the Public Health Act 1936 and the Physical Training and Recreation 1937.
On this basis, the proposed CLC which will incorporate public services, recreational and community uses is a development that is expressly permitted by the Covenant.
The restrictive Covenant over the site does not restrict the land just to open space. It can be used for other public or recreation purposes too subject to planning permission.
What about the Open Space?
Some of the areas of the CLC site are public open space.
One of these areas is the frontage of Chiltern Avenue.
This area, together with the open space land bounded by all sides on Woodside Close, shall form part of a “Land Swap” to Amersham Town Council. In return, Amersham Town Council will swap a small part of the King George V Playing Fields for the development of the proposed CLC to Chiltern District Council.
This land swap was publicised by Chiltern District Council using an Open Space disposal notice on 26 March 2018. The Open Space disposal notice was published in the local press and published on Chiltern District Council’s website. A public consultation on the disposal of the open space followed, which ran until 20 April 2018.
No objections were received to the Open Space Disposal Notice during the public consultation by Chiltern District Council.
On 1st May 2018, Chiltern District Council’s Cabinet made the decision to pursue the Land Swap agreement with Amersham Town Council.
Will the unitary decision in Bucks impact on this?
We are still awaiting a decision from the Secretary of State so until we do it is business as usual for us.
Why are the flumes not included in the proposed new facility?
Whilst the flumes remain popular during weekend and school holiday periods, at other times they remain unused. Also, over recent years there has been a growth in specialist water fun parks which are seen more as a full day out destination which has impacted on usage at Chiltern Pools. The current site does not offer sufficient space to develop a large scale water park which would also be met with very challenging planning issues. Looking forward it is proposed that the new centre provides a splash pad fun play area for young children as well as fun pool inflatable sessions for older children which includes slides and obstacle courses.