Rising from the ashes, Phoenix Pool and Gym was given a new lease of life in September 2016 following a £2m investment from Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The large-scale regeneration project completely transformed the venue into a state-of the-art leisure centre by the Pulse Group, who are joined in managing the site by Sentinel Leisure Trust and the Great Yarmouth Borough Council. Prior to development, Phoenix Pool consisted of a dilapidated 40-year old-swimming pool which ‘no longer met the requirements’ of its users, according to Chris Johnson, Managing Director of the Pulse Group.
Originally designed as a dual-use site, to be shared with the neighbouring school and the local residential estate, the key driver for this project was to create an accessible pathway for the local community to enjoy the centre as well as the neighbouring high school. Attracting 50,000 before the renovation, Phoenix pool are hoping to treble that figure in the next few years with both Pulse, the Sentinel Leisure Trust and the council wanting the opening to be all about the local community, as the centre is located within the middle of a housing estate.
Local residents, within the immediate vicinity, were invited to come into the centre for the day to try out the new facilities. On the weekend the wider community were then invited to attend a free open weekend with the chance to try out the activities available and speak to all members of the team. “Over 1,000 people attended the opening weekend, with an overwhelming amount of support and positive comments from the local community,” comments Chris Johnson. “The facility also exceeded latent demand figures by over 24 per cent in its first four weeks of opening,” he adds.
Pulse Design and Build, the construction arm of the Pulse Group, were fully responsible for the entire build which included stripping out of the old-site and building a brand-new extension taking the site up to 1498sq.m from 860sq.m. This included the thermal suite, a brand new 55 station Pulse Fitness gym and group exercise studio as well as the full refurbishment of the pool hall, remodelled reception, new changing rooms and a redesigned car park to maximise space.
The site also boasts a five-lane, 25m pool as well as a thermal spa suite which includes a sauna, steam room, experience shower and a commercial spa which are used for a wide range of swimming activities for both the school and residents. A packed pool timetable includes; club swimming, casual swims, school swimming, aquacise classes, aqua fun sessions complete with inflatables and floats, kids parties, and swimming lessons for both kids and adults.
The regeneration project has mainly served the swimming clubs in attendance at Phoenix as the leading users of the pool. Great Yarmouth’s Swimming Club call the site home, but the operators are impressed by the diversity of swimmers now attracted to the site.
“Since opening the facility has attracted wide range of the local community with 55:45 females to male ratio. Around 35 per cent of members are aged 21 to 35, 24 per cent between 36 and 49 and 16 per cent over 50’s. The rest is made up by school foot fall,” comments Chris. “Pulse has created a future-proof design by completely modernising the pool hall with high-tech development,” he adds.
A white rock ceiling has been installed to form an impervious, virtually maintenance-free system that can be cleaned in-situ. The new ceiling also provides a bright durable surface to help reduce condensation. Swiss timing clocks have been fitted into the pool hall to provide accuracy for the large number of swimming clubs and races meets at the centre.
With Phoenix predicted to attract 150,000 guests annually, the pool is already backed by a strong team of 18 full-time staff and 14 casual staff including facility team members who have been fully trained as pool plant operators to make up the in-house pool maintenance team. Looking to the future the facility has announced that it will be used by more than 100 swimming clubs going forward, as well as the local secondary school and surrounding community.
Phoenix Pool and Gym
Tel. 01493 664575