After almost two years since the closure of the former building, the brand new Northfield Leisure Centre opens this coming Monday (14th May).
After much consultation and deliberation – and with a mixed reaction locally – Birmingham City Council made the decision to demolish the old building in favour of a brand new facility. It was also decided to keep the new centre on the same site, on the corner of Bristol Road South and Great Stone Road – rather than move to a new site, such as Longbridge or Prices Square in Northfield high street.
Today, B31 Voices had a full tour of the new facilities and, we hope you agree that – no matter your opinion on the loss of the old building or the choice of location – there’s no arguing that the centre delivers much improved leisure provision for our communities.
The new Northfield Leisure Centre cost £7.7 million to build and is part of a £40 million investment by Birmingham City Council. The pool and fitness centre is the third brand new facility – after Erdington and Stechford – to be managed by Birmingham Community Leisure Trust (BCLT). The Trust also manages Fox Hollies, Cocks Moors Woods, Beeches and Wyndley Leisure Centres. A fourth centre at a new site at Icknield Port Loop in Edgbaston will be built and managed by BCLT.
There will be a wide range of exercise and fitness classes available, such as spin, pilates, body pump and yoga as well as swimming classes for different levels.
The centre will also host holiday play activities for children and birthday pool parties.
An inflatable pool obstacle course will be available at set times for all aged 4 plus.
BCLT are proud of the access facilities at the new centre. There are accessible wet and dry changing areas – including a Changing Rooms facility with changing bed, ceiling track hoist, shower and toilet which can be used by anyone who needs to, not just those using the centre’s facilities.
There’s a seat in the communal pool access showers for those with reduced mobility. Two lifts are provided to the upper floor so those with mobility issues are not excluded if one breaks down.
There are gradual steps to access the pool for those with restricted mobility. The pool also features a state of the art Pool Pod, allowing access in a Pool Pod wheelchair – a more comfortable and dignified method of accessing a pool than a poolside hoist.
Although the old building is gone, it has not been forgotten. The stone Birmingham coat of arms, which was previously embedded above the entrance, has been cleaned and mounted as the centrepiece in a memory garden as part of the frontage of the centre.
Two commemorative plaques from previous openings of the building have been preserved and are displayed in the foyer of the building, along with photographs of the centre over the years.
How can I join?
Sessions are available on a Pay as You Go basis but if you’re intending to be a regular centre user, you may find a membership beneficial. Various monthly or annual packages are available and you can sign up online or pop into the centre.
When does the centre open?
You can pop in over this coming weekend for a group tounmr of the centre and to sign up or ask questions. The centre will open for tours and queries only between 10am and 2pm on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th May.
The centre will be fully open from 10am on Monday 14th May. Visit the Northfield Leisure Centre website for more
What people say
Jamie Bryant, Partnership Director, Birmingham Community Leisure Trust:
“Although this is the third new facility we have completed in Birmingham, each project is an individual challenge and we are pleased to have worked successfully again with all our partners to bring the plans to fruition.
“As a ‘nod’ to the old swimming pool building, which served residents of south Birmingham since 1937, we have incorporated some of the old stones in the construction of the new centre. There will also be a display of photographs from the old pool in the foyer. Northfield Leisure Centre will have a workforce of around 50 staff members, including 30 new jobs, in a range of roles, such as activity instructors, maintenance and reception staff.”
Richard Burden MP, Birmingham Northfield:
“It is on the record that I wanted the new leisure centre to be built elsewhere in the centre of Northfield and for the old building to be put to uses that could have retained the historic frontage that was an important part of Northfield’s urban landscape.
“None of that, however, takes away from either the investment that Birmingham City Council has put in or the excellent facilities the new leisure centre has to offer. The gym has got lots of great equipment and both the pool itself and the changing area have a great feel about them.
“I am also very impressed by the thought that has been given to making the pool accessible to people with disabilities. The staff team have emphasised to me their ambition to keep the community at the heart of all they do.
“It will be great to see Northfield’s new leisure centre open its doors on Monday. It is a real asset for our area.”
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council:
“We make much of the city’s ability to host world-class sporting events, not least the Commonwealth Games in 2022 – but our approach to sport and leisure is to ensure just as much importance is placed on community facilities and grassroots participation.
“By delivering great projects, such as Northfield Leisure Centre, we are very clearly demonstrating the commitment we have to sport and healthy lifestyles for all. I am sure the new facility will be warmly welcomed by citizens across south Birmingham and become one of the focal points of community life in that area of the city.”
Brian Taylor, Birmingham Community Leisure Trust Chair:
“With the opening of this major new leisure venue in Northfield we warmly invite everyone who lives and works in this part of the city to come and enjoy the modern, high quality facilities available here. Whether you are a budding athlete with eyes on future Commonwealth Games or simply looking for a fitter, healthier life through swimming or visiting the gym, the opportunity is waiting for you at Northfield Leisure Centre.
“Our great team based here every day will be happy to show you around and answer your questions about activities, classes and membership options.”
Cllr Olly Armstrong, Northfield: