The Case for Improvements Summary

The case for improved changing facilities for all users

Status of the current changing facilities:

  • Dedicated male and female change leading to both girls and boys under 8 using the same single-sex designated area as either the mother or father;
  • According to the NSPCC, a single open changing area creates a safeguarding ‘risk’ for teachers during school lessons and galas;
  • Currently ‘under provided’ with family/group change, according to Sport England’s Affordable Community Swimming Pools (in partnership with the ASA) recommendations;
  • Not ‘fit-for-purpose’ for wheelchair users or anyone with mobility issues.

 

Proposed development:

  • Retain dedicated male and female change but with additional ‘changing village’;
  • Meets safeguarding recommendations that adults and children should change in separate places and that additional unisex family changing should be provided;
  • An additional ‘changing village’ will allow children to change either on their own or with parents in their own cubicle;
  • Would be fully accessible and DDA compliant for all;
  • More inclusive ‘gender neutral’ facilities will be available.

Background in Safeguarding

The new facilities need to be fit for use for children, families and the wider public. This means the introduction of family 'cubicle' change and showering facilities alongside dedicated male and female change. Current expectations from parents is that facilities should allow parents & carers to take the children into private change facilities where they can change discreetly.

Advice from the NSPCC states: “Ideally groups of children and young people should have sole use of changing facilities. This obviates any risks and potential vulnerability associated with mixing with adults or other young people (known or unknown to them) when changing and showering. Even when using public facilities, arrangements can be considered to address any potential concerns: separate room/facility available for the group”.

At present, the current facilities are dedicated male and female change that mean that dads would need to take any girls / boys up to the age of 8 into the male change where they will need to change in front of other older men and likewise women taking girls and boys into the ladies changing room. The changing rooms they use are one large room that everybody changes in together. This means that when there are school galas or swimming lessons the teachers need to supervise the changing rooms and therefore the teachers put themselves at risk.

Safeguarding best practice now expects that adults and children should change in separate places. For example, the Football Association's guidance reads "Where facilities are used by both adults and children at the same time there must access to separate changing, showering and toilet areas. Adult staff/volunteers must not change or shower at the same time as children and young people using the same facilities” Sport England design guidance note on ‘Fitness and Exercise Spaces, 2008’ states junior activities or youth gyms may require separate changing facilities, and consideration should also be given to the provision of additional unisex family changing.

The proposed introduction of a changing village means that children can change either on their own or with parents in their own cubicle. This immediately removes the risk of open changing and ensures that parents are responsible for their own children. A changing village requires more space that open changing and therefore increased space needs to be found in the building footprint to accommodate this.

Background in Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliance and social inclusivity

As well as addressing safeguarding concerns, the introduction of cubicle change allows for a more inclusive service meaning that those with a mobility disability would be able to use the facilities more freely. Whilst the pool recognises that swimming for those with a disability is a great form of exercise and has poolside facilities to support this, the changing rooms are not fit for purpose for those in a wheelchair or with mobility issues. There is one disabled changing room however the introduction of additional cubicle change and disabled changing facilities would increase the range of number of changing facilities for people with a disability and mobility issues.

At the same time Sports England advice is that “Accessibility needs careful consideration. Many people with disabilities regularly attend fitness gyms, and may be with carers or personal assistants of the opposite sex. It is therefore essential to provide individual unisex accessible changing rooms in addition to providing full access to the larger single sex changing rooms”.

At the same time as providing more accessible change it is also important to focus on delivering more inclusive facilities. Not all people identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’ or feel happy using either ‘male’ or ‘female’ facilities. LGBTQ charity, Stonewall recognises the best practice where “schools are taking steps to provide ‘gender neutral’ facilities – irrespective of whether there are trans young people in school – to help create a more inclusive environment for everyone”.

The introduction of cubicle change at the pool would therefore allow for people to change in a safe, secure environment with no discrimination. Whilst retaining single sex change meets the needs of users without young families.

Evidence:


The case for a more accessible gym

Status of the current gym and studio:

  • The space is cramped with the machines difficult to access, especially for anybody with disabilities;
  • The studio is very small, class sizes are limited to approximately 10 people and oversubscribed on a frequent basis;
  • The gym does not comply with latest Sports England recommendations for accessibility at only 2.7 square metres of space-per-station.

 

Proposed development:

  • 200 square metres would accommodate 15 more stations that would be fully accessible and DDA compliant for all;
  • 5 square metres of space-per-station will meet Sports England recommendations;
  • Bigger variety of machines or empty floor space to protect the facility to changes to possible future exercise trends;
  • Improved facilities are likely to increase usage, especially from younger age groups.

Background

The current gym is about 75 square metres has about 25 stations (work areas or machines) and was partitioned off the old female changing room back in the 1990s. It proved successful and was refurbished in 2007 to its current configuration. The gym has proved immensely popular with users, however, it is cramped and does not comply with latest Sports England recommendations for space per station and accessibility.

The studio (created by reducing the current gents changing room back in 2006), was created to expand the dry side offering and included Yoga, Pilates Spin, etc. However, at 43 square metres (which includes storage) it is very small and class sizes are limited to approximately 10 people. Sports England recommend the minimum size for a studio to be 112 square metres to make it viable and cost effective to operate.

Classes at Hampton Pool are now often oversubscribed or crowded, with people being turned away.

Proposals

The new gym would be about 200 square metres and would be fully accessible and DDA compliant for all members of the community. Although physically this is over double the current size once the machines are laid out to the current recommended spacing of 5 square metre per station as opposed to the current 2.7 square metre per station there would only be a modest increase in stations from 25 to 40. This will provide a bigger variety of machines or empty floor space to future proof the facility and changes to exercise trends.

The improved gym will enable existing customers to continue to enjoy exercising at Hampton Pool, a location of their choice, in less cramped conditions. It will also allow disable access which has previously been thwarted by the lack of space around the stations and the size of the studio.

The gym is also unique in pioneering ‘Club 1315’ encouraging young people to stay exercising in a hard to reach age group. Currently 162 young people are members of this scheme and improved facilities are likely to increase usage from this age group.

Hampton Pool also provides exercise classes for disabled to provide opportunities for social interaction which can be extended following the improvements to the facility.

Evidence:


The case for an improved café and covered seating area

Status of the current café and seating areas:

  • The kitchen and café are not DDA* compliant;
  • Restricted accessibility through all doors and ground floor as there is no lift;
  • Limited space in the café and kitchen;
  • Café currently has indoor bar-style seating for six with no view of the pool;
  • Nowhere for parents to sit comfortably with a view of their children during swimming lessons, especially in inclement weather;
  • Sun deck has a stepped ‘viewing platform’ that is a fall hazard and low wall and insufficient metal barrier.

 

Proposed development:

  • An improved café extended covered seating area would increase usage and revenue;
  • Provide parents with a safer, warmer platform to watch their children;
  • Lift to first floor;
  • Greater accessibility;
  • Removal of tripping hazards and low barrier risk.

Background

The kitchen and café are not DDA* compliant as there is a step down into the café and restricted access from all doors. There is limited space in the café and kitchen. The café is not accessible from the ground floor as there is no lift. After the development there will be lift access to the café. *Disability Discrimination Act

One of the key achievements of the services at the pool is the number of children and young people taught to swim. For nearly two-thirds of the year over 1,000 children per week learn to swim, these children have parents who both want to watch the lessons. Currently the café has indoor bar style seating for 6 with no view of the pool. Parents who wait often with younger siblings have no place to sit comfortably with a view of the lessons especially in inclement weather.

Proposals

The introduction of a larger covered café and viewing platform as part of the café would give parents a safer, warmer platform to watch their children. This is particularly important during the colder and wintery months as it means that more parents are likely to use the facilities as well as have a greater user experience when they do.


The step down on the sun-deck roof has identified as a fall hazard and the risk mitigation is to paint a yellow line. The step down has an advantage as a viewing terrace used by spectators, especially at school galas. The development provides a solution to reduce/eliminate the risk and retain the advantage by widening the step and reducing its depth.

The sun deck wall and metal barrier are a problem with children climbing on the wall. The wall and barrier will be replaced in the development with an architectural glass barrier.

Evidence:


Other areas the development will cover

Working Conditions for our staff

There is a need to improve the working conditions for staff. These requirements are not merely ‘nice to have’ extras but are increasingly important to ensure we have a safe and healthy work environment for the increasing number of swim teachers and lifeguards, as well as making sure that they are DDA compliant.

Swim teachers might spend several hours in the pool in the morning and then need to be back after lunch. At present they are required to change with the public including children (not recognised best practice) before then waiting in a public area for their next lesson. Lifeguards are on duty during inclement weather and their kit can get wet and they lose body heat. The introduction of a warm room means that they are able to get dry and warm before going back out of shift. Currently the sauna is used which is not the purpose it is intended for.

The staff room is a cramped 10 metres and does not provide adequate space for lifeguards to relax so that they can return to a duty that requires high levels of concentration and vigilance. It is not accessible by wheelchair.

The manager’s office is currently 8 square metres and accommodates four desks plus storage. It is not wheelchair friendly.

Evidence:


Sustainability

The current main pool ‘plant’ – the filtration and fixed speed pumps – are old and inefficient. Half the plant, installed in 1939, is nearly 80 years old and the second half, installed in 1959, is nearly 60 years old. Modern vertical sand filter filtration equipment will improve filtration and reduce water usage and at the same time improve water condition.

Modern variable-speed pumps and digital control systems will modulate flow-rates according to bather load and requirements. The variable-speed pumps are energy efficient and power savings will be made by operating the pumps at a reduced optimum speed.

The replacement of the current pool water heating system with new, energy efficient, condensing boiler technology and controls will reduce gas consumption. The inclusion of UV water treatment will reduce the risk of Cryptosporidium bacteria and allow the pools to be operated at lower chlorine levels.

Base load electrical power usage will be provided by a combined heat and power (CHP) unit generating both electricity and providing secondary heat for the swimming pool water. Daytime energy usage will be augmented by the roof-mounted solar-thermal photo-voltaic (PV) panels, with National Grid power used as backup and for night usage.

Hot water for showers will be augmented by roof-mounted solar-thermal photo-voltaic (PV) panels.

The new plantroom incorporates part of the existing plant room footprint and is extended onto currently unused derelict land. This frees up prime poolside land for customer use, is more efficient and better utilisation of the site. By creating a new footprint for the plant room, the pool can maintain current operations whilst the new room is built and commissioned, with minimal downtime for changeover to the new plant equipment.

Evidence:

  • Max Fordham report

Car Park

The car park needs resurfacing as a minimum and traffic and pedestrian flows need to be improved. The aim is to rebuild the bed of the carpark and surface it with environmentally friendly materials. Traffic and pedestrian flows have been designed to provide solutions to the problems identified.

Evidence:

Supporting information:

  • The scheme has been developed within the LBRuT Strategic Principles for Sport and Fitness 2014 and 2018
  • Mintel report on Leisure Centres and Swimming Pools UK September 2015
  • One to two members of LBRuT Sports Development Team have been members of the Hampton Pool Consultative Group throughout the development of the plan

Mintel report Leisure Centres and swimming Pools UK September 2015

The scheme has been developed with awareness of the Mintel report Leisure Centres and swimming Pools UK September 2015

Two stand out comments:

  • Centre and pool admissions remain resilient but are increasingly reliant on core users as the overall customer base continues to shrink. High levels of satisfaction with services and facilities suggest this core business is solid but operators need to address more negative perceptions around overcrowding, pricing and sociability to widen their player pool.
  • While leisure centre and swimming pool numbers contracted only marginally between 2013 and 2015, the replacement of ageing facilities with new stock has not just helped support admission numbers but also grown ancillary revenues through improved environments that encourage longer dwell times.

 

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