The new £26m leisure centre in Sheerwater has been officially named the Eastwood Centre in honour of former Woking Borough Council member, Ian Eastwood.
Built by Pellikaan, a specialist leisure provider, the keys to the finished building were handed over to the council in mid-February to begin furnishing. Doors will open to the public later this year once the exterior works have been completed and each fitness area has been kitted out with the latest equipment.
During his time as a councillor, Ian Eastwood campaigned passionately for better sports facilities in Sheerwater, alongside Cllr David Bittleston, Lead Member of the Sheerwater Regeneration Project.
In April 2018, members voted to release the funds for the construction of new community-use leisure centre and swimming pool, and two months after Mr Eastwood’s retirement in May 2019, work started on site.
Two years on and almost complete, key features of the new leisure centre include:
- 25 metre pool with 68-seat viewing gallery, steam room and sauna.
- Teaching pool with moveable floor and hoist.
- Five-court sports hall with dividing wall and underfloor heating.
- Two climate-controlled studios with sprung floors.
- 65 station gym with group cycling studio.
- Full-size floodlit 3G football pitch with covered spectator seating for 100 fans.
- Two new grass football pitches and a junior rugby pitch.
- Five outdoor tennis courts and four netball courts.
- Flexible use changing facilities, two Changing Places Toilets and wheelchair accessible facilities throughout the building.
- Multi-purpose function room with bar facilities, which can be used as a club room by local sports teams or as an additional studio space.
- Ground level café with view of the teaching pool.
- Car park with disabled parking bays, electric vehicle charging points and bicycle storage.
During a recent visit to the leisure centre, Mr Eastwood, a lover of team sports, particularly football, cricket and grass hockey, said he was “very impressed with the finer details” and praised the quality of the facilities, which meet the required standards for a range of competitive sports.
Cllr David Bittleston, Lead Member for the Sheerwater Regeneration Project, said: “Throughout his time on the council, Ian championed every aspect of sport and served on every committee which had an influence in this area. Everybody on the council looked to Ian to advise on matters relating to sport.
“From the amazing play area in Woking Park to the Sportsbox on Egley Road, Ian and I have worked as a team to deliver the biggest increase in sports infrastructure Woking has ever seen. Up until his retirement as a councillor, Ian was very much involved in the planning and design of this magnificent leisure centre, so I can’t think of a more fitting name for the building, or a better way to acknowledge his impact on the borough’s health and wellbeing.”
Bishop David Brown School has shared use of the Eastwood Centre, giving its pupils access to brand new high-quality facilities to support their physical education.
Since returning to the classroom, pupils have already started making use of the new leisure centre along with the new kitchen and dining hall included in the footprint of the building. This area is accessible only to the school and replaces the old canteen block, which will be demolished as part of the exterior landscaping works starting soon.