St Sidwell's Point will cost Exeter 26m – Here's five…

Criticism has often been levelled at Exeter City Council concerning the cost of its flagship leisure centre, St Sidwell’s Point.

At £26 million, its set to be one of the most expensive leisure centres in the UK in terms of its building cost.

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Below: How St Sidwell’s Point will look

But the high cost of the future landmark, dubbed ‘Pete’s Pool’ by several city councillors, in reference to council leader Pete Edwards, is attributed to its Passivhaus design and standards.

It’s based on Passivhaus pool, the Lippebad, 540 miles away in Lünen, Germany.

It will will have two main pools; a 25-metre eight-lane pool,and a four-lane training and recreation pool.

Both of the pools will have moveable floors. There will also be a separate confidence water pool for very young children.

But with critics, including Exeter Swimming Club, calling it “a scandalous waste of millions”, we’ve had a look at other leisure centres across the country, with similar facilities and in similar stages of planning.


Waltham Abbey, Epping Forest

Cost: £9.5 million

Epping Forest council has signed a 20-year contract with Place for People Leisure, and to sweeten the deal, they have revealed this new pool.

It will boast a 25m swimming pool, a 15m beginners’ pool, a dance studio, a group cycling studio, a cafe and a community room.

District Leisure Centre, East Cambridgeshire

Cost: 13.5 million

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s pool is set to open next year, and has been given £1.5m of Lottery grant money from Sport England.

This project features a 25m pool, a learner pool with moveable floor, a 120-station gym floor, two activity studios and a four-court sports hall.

Riverside, Chelmsford

Cost: £20 million

Chelmsford City Council has signed up Kier to help build a redevelopment of the city’s ice rink and lesiure centre.

It will see an ice rink rehoused next door to a 25m pool and gym centre.

Northfield, Birmingham

Cost: £8 million

This 25m pool is the latest of six pool developments being funded by a £36 million investment in Birmingham.

It’s being built on the site of an aging pool which shut its doors in June. Sport England has given the project its full backing.

Ulverston, South Lakes

Cost: £13 million

In its second stage of development, a 25m pool, two fitness studios and a four court indoor sports hall are set to be built in the North West town.

It will also have an indoor children’s play area.


But Exeter City Council aren’t worried by these examples of pools under £20 million.

It remains steadfast that St Sidwell’s Point will be ‘world class’, worth every penny and pay back dividends when the cash saved by its renewable-energy capabilities catches up with the large building costs.

Passivhaus is billed as a modern rigorous energy standard which ensures a building is low energy and, ultimately, low cost.

Existing Passivhaus pools in Germany have delivered a saving of in excess of 70 per cent in energy costs compared to traditional designs.

A City Council spokesman added: “It’s impossible to compare different projects around the country, but the world class quality of our project has been well documented, and approved by members.”

As far as contractors go to actually build it, however, the process is still ongoing and no decisions have yet been made.

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