Fuller Long have recently worked alongside Burke Rickard Architects in Maidenhead, Berkshire to secure planning permission for a brand new leisure centre in Braywick Park, which is now on site and is set to open later this year. Our consultant prepared and lodged a screening opinion to the local authority to establish whether a full Environmental Impact Assessment would be required, given the size of the project. Further, we provided specialist green belt advice and set out the very special circumstances for the application, justifying the development of a new building within the Green Belt.

The proposed works comprise the construction of a two-storey leisure centre which will act as a community recreation hub, providing approximately 9,500 square metres of internal floorspace situated in the existing driving range at Braywick Park. The modern Braywick Centre will replace the existing Magnet Leisure Centre, which is over 40 years old and reaching the end of its operable life.

Braywick Park, located just south of the town centre and just over half a mile from Maidenhead Train Station, is situated in a highly prominent and accessible location. It’s also a popular location for a variety of outdoor sports and leisure activities, including rugby, football, archery, target shooting and athletics.

The proposals for the new Braywick Leisure Centre were sensitively designed to align with the context of Braywick Park as a whole, with a strong synergy between the existing outdoor facilities and the proposed new indoor facilities. The new leisure centre will feature a 10 lane swimming pool, a 200-station gym, two dance studios, six outdoor netball and tennis courts as well as improved accessibility for disabled users and sports teams, along with a wide range of other facilities. The centre also aims to provide 240 additional car parking spaces as well as an indoor winter garden.

In the interest of being environmentally friendly, sustainable techniques and materials were at the heart of the new development. A ‘fabric first’ approach was applied with the aim to reduce energy demand, as well as the application of energy efficient systems to further reduce the carbon emissions of the development by 70%. Finally, the integration of low and zero carbon energy sources were included to meet carbon emission targets. This would not only meet Maidenhead Council’s energy requirements, but would also meet the national aims of increasing subsidy of environmentally sustainable buildings. Within our Environmental Impact Assessment, we emphasized that a development of this size would not have an urbanising effect and would not lead to other impacts of a more than local nature.

The proposal also includes a high quality landscaping scheme, which would in fact add to the biodiversity of the site. An Arboricultural Assessment and relevant Ecological Assessment were also undertaken and submitted as part of the application and these identified, where appropriate, any mitigation measures to be incorporated within the development.

As the site was located within the Green Belt, where most forms of development are considered inappropriate, we were able to support the design team to carry out research and provide the written justification proving that Very Special Circumstances existed for the development, arising from the site circumstances, the nature of the proposal and the emerging local plan policy, including benefits to the local community, economic and health benefits, evidence from the borough local plan evidence base, the lower function of the Green Belt land and the need for the facility, in accordance with the NPPF.  

The size and scale of the development has meant that it has been subject to extensive discussions with Planning Officers. Prior to submission, it was also subject to extensive public consultation within the local community. However, by outlining the clear benefits of the scheme and the lack of detrimental impacts on the local and wider environment, Fuller Long were able to assist the team in gaining full planning permission for works that are presently underway.

If you are a developer in search of the right consultants to assist with your potential schemes, look no further. Fuller Long’s skilled planning and heritage consultants have over 250 years of shared knowledge and experience. For a no obligation conversation, please call 0808 164 1288 or email us at hello@fullerlong.com.