'Excellent' Wycombe Leisure Centre to celebrate first birthday

Wycombe Leisure Centre 2016
Wycombe Leisure Centre has secured the Quest Excellent mark to top off a fantastic year for the centre ahead of its first birthday.

The leisure centre, operated by Places for People Leisure on behalf of Wycombe District Council, completed a two-day assessment to achieve the Quest Excellent rating within its first 11 months of opening.

Sport England’s Quest improvement programme is one of the top awards in the leisure industry and is only awarded to the best leisure centres in the country.

The Quest plaque will be unveiled at the leisure centre – part of the Wycombe District Council-developed Handy X Hub site, which includes Waitrose and the High Wycombe Coachway park and ride – during a first birthday celebration on 5 January.

Wycombe District Council Leader Cllr Katrina Wood said: “The Quest award tops off a fantastic first 12 months for the state-of-the-art Wycombe Leisure Centre.

“We have seen a big increase in new members and visitors in the first 12 months which shows the enthusiasm for the leisure centre and the Quest recognition highlights the first class facilities on offer to residents and visitors to our district.”

The leisure centre was opened to the public on 5 January 2016 before an official opening by HRH the Duke of Kent and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire and five-time Olympic Champion Sir Steve Redgrave on 2 March.

During that time there have been almost 650,000 visits to the leisure centre in the first 11 months, with badminton, squash and swimming in particular seeing a large increase in usage compared to the now demolished old Wycombe Sports Centre.

General Manager Stuart Lee for Places for People Leisure said: "It has been a fantastic first year for Wycombe Leisure Centre which has become a hive of sporting activity for the community.

“We are absolutely delighted to achieve Quest Excellent. Quest is an ongoing programme to improve our facility for both staff and customers. It is a fantastic result and a testament to the hard work and effort by everyone involved behind the scenes.”

Quest’s Operations Director Caroline Constantine added: “Congratulations for achieving Quest Excellent in such a short length of time. It really is quite amazing that the council and PfPL have transferred buildings, opened a big wet and dry centre and achieved Excellent in Quest; I am genuinely impressed.”

With phases 1 and 2 of the Handy X Hub complete, attention now turns to the final three phases of the project.

Phase three comprises the remaining motorway frontage next to Waitrose, with outline planning permission for 120,000 sq ft of office space and a 150 bed hotel. Talks are ongoing with prospective occupiers and hotel operators. 

While phase three is getting off the ground, phase four – the old sports centre site – will be actively marketed as a large scale opportunity for a headquarters building.

Meanwhile, Wycombe District Council is finalising plans for phase five for a proposed day nursery along with pre-lets to two prospective companies. The aim is to begin work on phase five in 2017. 

Wycombe Leisure Centre’s first 11 months in numbers (stats to 30 November):

  • More than 610,000 visits – estimated to be over 650,000 by the end of 2016.
  • More than 111,000 swims.
  • Casual badminton usage up 4.8% on last year
  • Badminton course bookings have increased by 33%
  • Squash course bookings have increased by 20%
  • Swimming lesson participants have increased 67%
  • Members have increased by 44%
  • New sports introduced to the centre include netball and volleyball