£23m Croydon leisure scheme wins RICS Social Impact Award

A transformational £23million leisure development, designed for the London Borough of Croydon, has scooped a prestigious Social Impact Award at the regional RICS Awards.

The new RICS Social Impact Awards, which were held digitally, recognise the built environment’s positive and transformational contribution to society. The design won the leisure category in the London regional round and was commended by the judges for its ‘innovative design’.

The project team behind the award-winning New Addington leisure scheme, which is a flagship facility for the local council, includes GT3 Architects, Willmott Dixon, Engenuiti, Van Zyl & de Villiers and FT Leisure.

The new facility features a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a teaching pool, two studios, a fitness suite, four court sports hall, and substantial community space.

Simon Dunstan, director at GT3 Architects, said: “We are delighted that New Addington has won the Social Impact award as the project’s primary aim was to provide easy and inclusive access for the entire community.

“We worked closely with the London Borough of Croydon to fully understand the community requirements and create a design that is truly inclusive, in keeping with our People Architecture philosophy. For example, the facility includes a sizable space for the thriving New Addington market as well as space for sports wheelchair storage within the sports hall and an on-site café to create a social hub.

“The project created more than 75 jobs for Croydon residents and was home to Willmott Dixon’s first Building Lives Academy, which aims to upskill young people in Croydon and provide them with a foot in the door to the construction industry. We’re therefore thrilled that this work has been recognised with this award.”

Alongside the community engagement aims of the scheme, the project was also designed to meet a 35% reduction in CO2, which is over and above the building regulations. The energy strategy was supplemented by extensive use of photovoltaic panels on the roof of the leisure centre all of which contributed to the achievement of a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, added: “This is a stunning new centre with first-class facilities for everyone in New Addington to enjoy and be proud of. It will make a huge difference to our local community, helping them to keep fit and stay healthy while giving them a new venue to enjoy with family and friends.”