Witham Leisure Centre designed by Scott Brownrigg officially opens


The new £9.5m Witham Leisure Centre, designed by international design practice Scott Brownrigg has officially opened to the public.

The practice was appointed in 2011 by Braintree District Council and Project Managers Mott MacDonald to provide both architectural design and town planning services for the 4,000 sq m development. The new leisure centre has replaced Bramston Sports Centre to provide state-of-the-art facilities for the local community. These  include  a six-lane 25m swimming pool, a learner pool, overlooking spectator seating, wet and dry changing facilities, fitness studio, two dance studios, sauna, steam room, two squash courts with a moveable wall, two treatment rooms and a café.

Scott Brownrigg’s distinct design provides a new modern, leisure facility that maximises the use of natural light and provides inspiration to the local community,
Providing a high quality building frontage that creates a sense of place for the surroundings, externally the building expresses its internal forms and is orientated and internally arranged to make best use of the sites characteristics.

The main double height pool hall is naturally lit by north facing windows and visually linked to the entrance by siting and sight-lines. The other key activity spaces - the fitness studio and dance studios are also north facing to benefit from natural light and physically expressed by strong cuboid forms which are externally and internally expressed as colourful solid boxes. These activities are placed at first floor level enabling the wet changing village to be sited adjacent to the pools. The entrance is physically located beneath the dance studio; the squash courts are also located at ground floor level, behind the entrance. The more sensitive southern facade, closest to residential properties beyond, has no windows enabling back of house and storage areas.

The materials palette is simple, and uses a light coloured stone/concrete; the external materials continue inside, to aide legibility and visually connect the internal spaces with the external landscaping - appropriate for the active leisure use.

The landscaped external area includes a swale and planting for sustainable drainage and car parking including disabled and cycle spaces.

Councillor Jo Beavis, Cabinet Member for People and Participation at Braintree District Council said: “The completion of Witham Leisure Centre is a proud moment for the town and the District Council. We have a strong emphasis on the importance of health and fitness within the district, and it has been important that this is backed up with investment into new and improved facilities.

However in creating a new leisure centre the quality of the design is paramount, as it was not only replacing an old centre, but a much loved and important community asset. The design created by Scott Brownrigg matched our aims and ambition and I am delighted that the final result is a modern, state-of-the-art but also importantly highly accessible and created with the needs of the many different groups who will be using the facilities in mind. Above all, we hope that the new centre becomes an important and much-loved resource for everyone in the community to enjoy and benefit from.”

The leisure centre has been built by Barr Construction and is being run by providers Fusion Lifestyle.