At an Autumn Construction Industry Council (CIC) Reception, Tony Burton, Senior Partner at Gardiner & Theobald and CIC Inclusive Environment Champion presented the second Construction Industry Council Inclusive Environment (CIC-IE) Award to the winner, Wycombe Leisure Centre.
Wycombe Leisure Centre, located in High Wycombe is a state of the art leisure facility including features such as a gym, sports hall, swimming pool, squash courts, indoor climbing wall and indoor bowls. The previous sports centre was built at a time when providing sports facilities for disabled people was not given much thought. The design brief was to make the new leisure centre as inclusive as possible for all members of the community of Wycombe District and beyond.
The Centre was keen to implement much of the Accessible Sports Facilities Design Guide to encourage greater participation in sport. Due to the desire to host disability sports events, much attention was given to improve the standards achieved on accessibility for both participants and spectators. Facilities include a fully accessible indoor bowling green, squash courts, a climbing wall accessible to disabled children, a Changing Places WC, a pool with a moveable floor and good viewing positions for wheelchair users overlooking the pool.
The CIC-IE Award judging panel was impressed with how the scheme had integrated inclusivity into the strategic brief from the outset and undertook significant engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders including disabled people and older peoples clubs. This included extensive research on the design of splayed wheeled sports wheelchairs to ensure suitable door width. This approach has resulted in an increase in community use demonstrating that good inclusive design benefits us all.
The CIC-IE is an “award of awards” that celebrates exemplar schemes and projects previously recognised by a CIC member professional body or a CIC member built environment stakeholder. It inspires professionals already in practice to raise the standard of inclusivity achieved across the industry and recognises buildings, places and spaces that demonstrate best practice in achieving an inclusive environment – an environment which is safe, flexible and accessible for all. This year’s award has been kindly sponsored by Gardiner & Theobald.
Speaking after the winner was announced, Paul Everall, Chief Executive, Local Authority Building Control (LABC) said: “Having nominated the winning scheme in 2016, LABC is delighted that again the winner of the LABC Inclusive Building Award has also become the winner of the CIC Award. Congratulations to the team at Wycombe for commissioning such a wonderful building”.
Celebrating the win, Alison Pipes, Building Control Manager for Wycombe District Council said: “The team at Wycombe worked hard to make sure that the leisure centre was designed and constructed to be as inclusive as possible. The many different sports on offer can be enjoyed by all. This award is testament to the dedication showed by everyone involved in the building project and the continued running of the leisure centre”.
Professor John Nolan, Chairman, Construction Industry Council and member of the judging panel added: “It is inspiring to see schemes going beyond the minimum regulatory standards and embracing inclusion from the start of a project. It shows what can be achieved when we work with the whole community and aim for true inclusion. LABC has demonstrated the benefits of an Inclusive Design Award encouraging members to champion the achievement of an inclusive environment in all their projects. I look forward to even more really good submissions next year.”
The runners-up from the shortlist of three were the Stihl Treetop Walk in Gloucestershire and the Francis Crick Institute in London.
This year’s award has been kindly sponsored by Gardiner & Theobald.