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Helensburgh leisure centre is ready for business

August 10 2022

Helensburgh leisure centre is ready for business

Argyll & Bute Council has taken possession of Helensburgh Leisure Centre following handover by Heron Bros.

Run by liveArgyll the pierhead facility will open to the public on 3 September, but a 190 space car park is already available for use, to permit clearance of the existing car park during demolition of the old swimming pool.

A further extension of the car park, which includes electrical vehicle charging, a bus drop off, bike parking and a cycle repair station, is planned once the former pool has been cleared.

The council’s policy lead for commercial services, councillor Gary Mulvaney, said: "Work on the waterfront development started almost two years ago to the day, amidst a global pandemic. Businesses were experiencing staff shortages due to Covid, people were on furlough, and building materials were on short supply.

"Despite these challenges, the council's project team and contractors worked tirelessly to complete the leisure centre within the original timescale, many doing so while working remotely."

The leisure centre was designed by DarntonB3 Architects.


A full public opening will take place next month
A full public opening will take place next month
Facilities include a public pool and gym
Facilities include a public pool and gym


#1 Posted by pooka on 10 Aug 2022 at 13:10 PM
Let's go for something really grim... shed in a car park on an exposed peninsula with no trees should do it!?
#2 Posted by Pedro on 10 Aug 2022 at 14:08 PM
What’s really annoying about this is they seem to have built it the wrong way round with the pool facing the car park instead of the view.
#3 Posted by SneckieMun on 10 Aug 2022 at 14:39 PM
Your brief, if you choose to accept it, is to design a swimming pool right on the shore of a body of water and design a total disconnect between the two.
#4 Posted by hmm on 10 Aug 2022 at 14:43 PM
Well on the plus side they have a new pool which was desperately needed...what a depressing sea of tarmac though.
Jimbob Tanktop
#5 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 10 Aug 2022 at 17:07 PM
Not quite sure if the square shed is the swimming pool or the car park.
#6 Posted by Al on 10 Aug 2022 at 18:54 PM
Is it meant to look like a supermarket?
Graeme McCormick
#7 Posted by Graeme McCormick on 10 Aug 2022 at 20:34 PM
Somewhat different from Gareth Hoskins vision for the same site.

Such a missed opportunity. .
Fat Bloke on Tour
#8 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 10 Aug 2022 at 21:27 PM
Incredible that they can spend all this money and still leave the pier in a decrepit and dangerous state -- leaving it for someone else to fix.

#9 Posted by Peter on 11 Aug 2022 at 10:40 AM
Since when actually Tesco went into gym/pool business? I'm really missing petrol forecourt though.
The Observer
#10 Posted by The Observer on 11 Aug 2022 at 14:29 PM
This should have been an affordable interpretation of Gareth Hoskins' design, and as a resident of Helensburgh named in his honour.

A talented man with vision and an affection for the area.
#11 Posted by Miesian on 11 Aug 2022 at 17:02 PM
Really disappointing. What is even more frustrating is that there has been significant investment which with better urban design and internal planning could have been utilised more effectively to give a sense of arrival, placemaking and connection to water.
#12 Posted by alibi on 11 Aug 2022 at 18:41 PM
Some of our capital projects these days are simply shameful, stacking up problems for future generations and missing huge gaping opportunities. A key cause of this, in my experience, is (a) lack of oversight/ real planning, (b) political pressure to crack on regardless, the latter often driven by (c) unnecessarily tight deadlines to spend capital allocations.
#13 Posted by Roddy_ on 11 Aug 2022 at 18:46 PM
A spectacular own goal for Helensburgh. One wonders about what it is about putting an island building with sterile blank frontages in a sea of surface car parking that will have any regenerative effect. Perhaps they were taking their cues from Clydebank and their centre at Ossian Way - another building that defies any sense of placemaking or its waterfront context.
Gandalf the Pink
#14 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 12 Aug 2022 at 07:31 AM
That is grim.

Imagine swimming lessons for the kids on a rainy Thursday evening in November.

In the bleak darkness, wiind battered, rain lashing down, the family hurry across the exposed carpark hoping to reach the 17° water of the swimming pool before they are blown into the firth of Clyde. The council turned the heat down another degree after the increasing energy prices struck deep. They will have to swim fast to keep warm.
Creep too
#15 Posted by Creep too on 12 Aug 2022 at 08:39 AM
#14 Imagine group of kids or women is swimsuits being observed by the group of creeps smoking cigs in the parking lot just 1m away, whereas the bay view is blocked with inactive frontage. With all levels involved nobody though about it? So what now? A set of blinds making the pool dark room? Bravo.
#16 Posted by John on 12 Aug 2022 at 14:07 PM
Honking ..... just low quality awfulness
#17 Posted by Raymond on 12 Aug 2022 at 14:48 PM
Utterly awful. Who allows this stuff to get through planning? What an utterly grim picture of what could be something quite imaginative, innovative, regenerative.... wind-swept, bleak as hell shed in a utterly ginormous car park. Terrible.
Aldi Property Department
#18 Posted by Aldi Property Department on 12 Aug 2022 at 17:02 PM
Even Aldi would be ashamed at this
Nairn's Bairn
#19 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 15 Aug 2022 at 11:41 AM
Lots of negative comments here. I was there last week (on a beautiful day) and had a walk along the seafront. I have to say it didn't shout out its awfulness as much as the comments might suggest. It is quite low-profile and sits further away from the town than the original pool building, and as such is discreet for such a large structure.

It's also worth saying that this is a swimming pool / leisure complex, not a visitors centre. It is by its nature service-heavy and inward-looking. When you're swimming you're not there for the view.

In these straightened times, the successful provision of a valuable asset for the town is something to be applauded, and while I understand the 'what might have been' argument, it's built, it's there, and the swimming classes can recommence. For that alone I say well done to all.

The fact that a more ambitious project for this notable site has not gone ahead may be a shame, but let's face it, not unusual.
Sue Pearman
#20 Posted by Sue Pearman on 16 Aug 2022 at 10:08 AM
#19 what you say may be partially correct but that does not take away from the fact this is an extremely prominent location for a very banal inward looking building and a very exposed site with little shelter past the sea of cars. It appears the wrong building in the wrong location and looks a failure in strategy.
Paul North
#21 Posted by Paul North on 4 Sep 2022 at 05:58 AM
Yes it is inward looking but if anyone on here had the slightest scratch beneath the surface of the design they would know the fitness suite that is on the top floor over looks the clyde so you can be doing a workout and look out to the view as inspiration as you pound the treadmill, The building is insipid though

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