A South London council has revealed plans to renovate two of the borough’s leisure centres in a £27 million scheme.

Bromley Council has moved forward with proposals to improve facilities at the West Wickham and the Walnuts leisure centres.

The council said in a statement on November 1 that the works would include upgrades to the swimming pools in both centres, including drowning detection technology and new pool roofs.

Council documents said new accessible toilets, cafés and changing facilities are also envisioned for both centres, along with the gym spaces being expanded.

News Shopper: A CGI of the reception and café area planned for the West Wickham Leisure Centre. (Credit: Bromley Council)A CGI of the reception and café area planned for the West Wickham Leisure Centre. (Credit: Bromley Council)

A new soft play zone is planned for the West Wickham Centre, which council officers said was in a worse condition than the Walnuts Leisure Centre in Orpington.

The proposed improvements to both centres were developed following a survey of residents which received 6,135 responses.

The plans were discussed at an executive meeting for Bromley Council on October 18. Council documents said the initial £27.1 million budget for the project may be exceeded given the more detailed lists of renovations each centre requires.

Conservative Councillor Nicholas Bennett said at the meeting that he was particularly looking forward to the renovations for the West Wickham Leisure Centre, but asked whether the pool would be appropriate for competitions following the works given its unusual 33-metre length.

Council officers said in response that swimming clubs in the borough said they would prefer to have a boom in the Walnuts Leisure Centre pool to host competitions.

An officer said at the meeting: “At West Wickham, we are hoping to keep both the length and the depth pool. We have identified preliminary funding for one boom between the two centres…

"The swimming club at West Wickham is against having a boom because they see it as a loss of pool space but the swimming club at the Walnuts would prefer to have a boom.”

Officers cited the leisure centres as two of the borough’s most used facilities in their report, with over 20,000 visits a month.

They said both centres were at the end of their natural design life, having been built in the late 1960s.

The council has appointed Alliance Leisure Services to carry out the works.

The plans for the project are expected to be finalised in 2024 for works to begin next year and be completed in 2026.

The council said in a statement that one of the two pools would be kept open throughout this period to maintain swimming access to the public.

A Bromley Council spokesperson said in a statement: “We want to see first-class leisure facilities at both these important sites and have been developing these exciting plans, bearing in mind the priorities raised by the residents and communities who will benefit from them.”

They added: “While we are mindful of the costs, especially given the challenging conditions in construction currently, it is great to be moving forward with this major investment in the borough’s leisure provision, underlining Bromley Council’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its residents.”