New Sheerwater leisure centre named after former councillor

THE new £26million leisure centre at Sheerwater has been named the Eastwood Centre, in honour of a former long-serving borough councillor.

The name pays tribute to Ian Eastwood, who campaigned passionately for improved sports facilities during his 28 years as a Woking borough councillor.

Ian Eastwood (right) and Cllr David Bittleston outside the front entrance of the new leisure centre

Ian said he is impressed with the facilities at the complex in the grounds of Bishop David Brown School, which will be used by pupils, sports clubs and the community.

The key features are a 25-metre swimming pool, a teaching pool that has an adjustable floor, a five-court sports hall, a gym and a full-size artificial football pitch.

“The attention to detail is unbelievable,” said Ian, who stood down as a Goldsworth Park councillor in May 2019 after eight stints on the council. “The training pool is particularly impressive, with a floor that goes from a depth of just two inches to five feet.

The main 25-metre, six-lane swimming pool

“That means people from toddlers to adults can have plenty of confidence in using the pool.”

The complex, built by specialist leisure facilities provider Pellikaan, was handed over to the council in mid-February. It is expected that the doors will be open to public later this year, when the exterior works have been completed and each fitness area has been kitted out with the latest equipment.

Construction started in the summer of 2019, following the council approving the project in April 2018.

The Eastwood Centre includes:

* A 25-metre pool with 68-seat viewing gallery, steam room and sauna.

* A teaching pool with an adjustable floor and hoist.

* A five-court sports hall with dividing wall and underfloor heating.

* Two climate-controlled studios with sprung floors.

The sports hall, which has markings for five different courts

* A 65-station gym with a group cycling studio.

* A full-size floodlit 3G football pitch with covered seating for 100 spectators.

* Two grass football pitches and a junior rugby pitch.

* Five outdoor tennis courts and four netball courts.

* Flexible use changing facilities and wheelchair accessible facilities throughout the building.

* A multi-purpose function room with bar facilities, which can be used as a clubroom by sports teams.

* A café with views of the teaching pool.

“I’m extremely honoured to have my family name associated with the centre,” said Ian, who was chairman of the council’s sport and leisure committee when Woking was the first authority in Surrey to employ sports development officers.

Headteacher James Rodgers and members of the Bishop David Brown School catering team in their new dining hall

The centre is part of the Sheerwater Regeneration Project, which is adding hundreds of homes to the estate and improving community facilities.

The lead member for the project is Cllr David Bittleston, who 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.

“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.”

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