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Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure has been named the UK’s best new civic building at a national awards event recognising the country’s public projects.
The eye-catching new addition to Western Road took the title of Civic Building of the Year at the SPACES Awards, one of the most prestigious awards for highlighting the very best projects delivered by local authorities.
The local leisure centre, built by Willmott Dixon and managed by Everyone Active on behalf of Havering Council, was praised by The Society for Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying (SPACES) for its architecture, complex construction, and high standard of building practice.
Named in tribute to mark 65 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Sapphire Ice & Leisure also scooped the award for best community building, demonstrating its value to the community with facilities including a large pool, learner pool, fitness suite, dance studio, spinning studio, sauna and café area, attracting around 1,000,000 visitors since opening its doors in February 2018.
The centre was built as part of Havering Council’s multi-million pounds investment in sports and leisure facilities, which has also seen construction begin on a new sports centre in Hornchurch, due to open in September 2020, and preliminary plans made for a new leisure centre in the south of the borough.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Sapphire Ice and Leisure is a wonderful leisure centre and integral part of the local community. I am delighted that it won not one but two prestigious awards at the SPACES Awards to highlight and celebrate that.
“Thanks to the centre’s innovative design, there’s a wide range of facilities offering so much choice that there’s no excuse for anyone not to come along and get involved.
“If you haven’t been to the leisure centre and seen for yourself the superb facilities on display, this news is a great opportunity to find out more.”
Chris Tredget, managing director at Willmott Dixon, continued, “This was a fantastic project to work on and has already made a huge impact in Romford. We have seen how much influence leisure schemes have on local economies as people flock to use the facilities.
“This award further underlines how Sapphire Ice & Leisure has become a national example of successful high-street regeneration that will bring people, jobs and prosperity to Romford for many years to come.”
Tom Fletcher, Contract Manager at Everyone Active, commented: “Sapphire Ice and Leisure has not only boosted the profile of physical activity locally, it has spearheaded an innovative approach to UK urban leisure provision.”