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SPN APR 2012 IndustryNews


Photograph Courtesy of Shepherd Construction


The new Bert Williams Leisure Centre, which includes a two pool complex with a moveable floor and named after the legendary Wolves and England goalkeeper, has been officially opened.

The £18.6m facility in Bilston, is a purpose built leisure centre with its focal point the main competition swimming pool.

It replaces the existing Bilston Leisure Centre, which dates from the 1960s.

The centre includes a health and fitness suite, two swimming pools, dance studios, badminton and squash courts, crèche and a sports hall. Wolverhampton City Council voted the site should honour Williams, who played more than 400

games for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Mr Williams, 91, played in the 1950 World Cup and was made an MBE last year for his services to football and charity. The centre is a two pool complex. The main pool is a 25metre eight lane competition pool built to ASA standards. The separate 16.67metre x 8metre studio pool contains a full moveable floor system.

The main contractor was Shepherd Construction.

Both pools have dedicated filtration systems, with a chlorine donor and pH control system, combined with UV sterilisation. The filtration systems and moveable floor were designed and installed by F T Leisure Limited.

There is a now a growing possibility that the first few weeks of 2013 will see two pool and spa trade exhibitions taking place – just nine days apart. The industry’s own event, SPATEX 2013, has confirmed it will stay in Brighton for at least another year and will switch back to a traditional Sunday to Tuesday opening from 3 to 5 February.

The newcomer on the scene is Piscine UK, organised by UK company New Events Ltd with the backing of GL Events who run the biennial trade show in Lyon. The launched three day show is planned for Birmingham’s NEC Hall 6 from Wednesday 23 to Friday 25 January. Discussions with potential exhibitors over the next two months will decide whether the size of industry can properly support two head to head shows.

SPATEX, which enjoyed a successful 2012 show with new innovations and increased attendances, took the decision to stay at the Metropole Hotel venue for next year despite considering a number of options with at one stage a short list of 13 venues in the north, Midlands and London being considered should SPATEX move. A poor response from exhibitors from an industry survey on the future of the show left organisers feeling they did not have enough

evidence what the trade wanted from its ‘own show’.

Ironically, while there was no clear views for a new location for SPATEX, Birmingham came out as a preferred alternative.

SPATEX, which markets itself strongly as ‘by the industry, for the industry’ has promised further innovations for next February. Howard Gosling, SPATEX board member told the SPATA awards audience in February that more funds would be allocated to attract local authority visitors.

New Events Ltd told SPN that they have now signed the contract for the 4,000 sq metre venue at the NEC. Perhaps seen initially by some as a speculative event, Piscine UK says it has 1,600 metres of space for the new event confirmed if not contracted. Said Rob Saunders, New Events Director: “We don’t see any reason why the space we have already sold will not go ahead. Starting in April the trade will start to see what we have planned for our visitor attendance promotions. We plan to invest a lot of time and effort to deliver what the audience and exhibitors want.” A team from GL Events in France visited the NEC venue in late February. “They wanted to get a feel for the event and be confident we could provide the right quality of service for exhibitors,” he added.

People with disabilities will benefit from some of the best facilities in the country in the new Plymouth Life Centre pools.

A special scissor lift that has not been used anywhere else in the UK before will be installed for the main 50-metre Olympic-sized swimming pool and dive pool, dropping down 1.5 metres from the side so that the user can swim straight into the water.

Starting blocks and timing pads have been added to the moveable boom, so that the pool size can be reduced from 50 metres to 25 metres for disabled swimming galas and competitions. Removable manual hoists will also be used in the main, dive and leisure pools.

The centre includes a family leisure pool with flumes, ‘beach entry’ and bubble pool and a 10- lane, 50-metre swimming pool with moveable floors and submersible ‘booms’ allowing flexible use.


Each floor of the facility will be completely level with a number of ramps to allow access for wheelchair users, including to the main entrance. There will be multi-level access into the building and almost 30 disabled car parking spaces. Lifts will serve all floors of the four-storey building and there will be enlarged turnstiles in the reception area, as well as doors throughout the complex that are wide enough to accommodate sports wheelchairs.

The Plymouth Life Centre will also feature three dedicated ‘changing places’ rooms for disabled users which will have hoists and changing beds, in addition to accessible toilets and showers. Further accessible shower and changing facilities will be available in both the dry and wet areas.

Each changing room will incorporate wider doors and lockers which will be raised so that

F PLYMOUTH LIFE CENTRE ( 0845 371 3614 :

wheelchair users can position themselves underneath whilst still remaining in their chair.

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