Brownlee Centre, Leeds

The former Changing Room facilities at the Boddington Playing Fields were rundown, didn’t meet current Sport England guidelines, and were only being used twice a week at most. This 1960’s building provided a challenge over whether to refurbish or demolish and start again with a purpose-built centre.

The sloping valley side site location itself provided both opportunities and constraints and despite the existing building being located adjacent to the site entrance and having a small unsurfaced car park access, deliveries throughout the construction had to be carefully considered. Existing and future site restrictions, such as the pitches, trees and possible compulsory purchase of part of the site by the council also lead the layout of the cycle track.

The design process was further complicated by having several stakeholders of the Centre and track, with the University of Leeds, British Triathlon, British Cycling, Sport England and UK Sport, working in partnership on the £5M investment and were all consulted on the proposals. To ensure their differing requirements of the various stakeholders were considered and included numerous meetings, workshops and reviews took place through the design and construction process.

The inclusion of the new track hardstanding, coupled with existing waterlogged sports pitches, provided challenges to site drainage and careful consideration towards site ecology and biodiversity.

Finally, there was a challenging programme to fit around the grass sports seasons to restrict the downtime of existing facilities, and keep the Universities’ sports teams playing on the remaining pitches throughout the works.

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