Walnuts Leisure Centre Plans Announced

18 Apr 2024

Bromley Council has announced plans for the future of the Walnuts Leisure Centre, budgeting £11.1 million to refurbish the centre, with the swimming pool, gym, and café receiving significant investment. 

For the swimming area, the main pool will be partitioned, creating two pools: one will be a 25m competition-standard pool, while the other will be a learner pool 6.3m large. With this change, the pool will become compliant for competitions and galas as it would meet the 25m requirement for competitions, allowing for more investment and revenue into the centre. Orpington Ojays, the swimming club which uses the site, has expressed their satisfaction with these proposals, as they offer an exciting opportunity for the future of the club, especially for the young people who use it. On a separate note, what is currently the learner pool will be mothballed and reserved for future investment.

Alongside changes to the swimming area there will be a new and expanded gym and a new unisex changing area, combined with a general refresh of the site. Due to costs, plans to replace the soft play, as well as plans to replace the studios on the first and second floor, have been omitted. 

The works will begin in early 2025 on the dry side, with the pool remaining open until Summer 2025, when works to the wet side of the site will begin. The Council projects that works will be completed in March 2026. We’re happy that the Council will be undertaking a phased renewal of the site, after previously having said that this would be impossible. This minimises the impact on residents during the refurbishment.

Cllr Will Connolly, Lib Dem spokesperson for recreation and renewal, requested at a Council meeting on Wednesday 17 April that Council Officers consider working with other leisure centre sites in the borough to see if they can absorb some of the demand for facilities during the scheduled works, through extending operating hours and class schedules. This, however, will be down to the operators to decide. 

Aside from confirming these changes at the aforementioned Council meeting, officers emphasised that Orpington is not being disadvantaged by works in West Wickham. For context, West Wickham Leisure Centre has been closed since earlier this year due to corroding concrete, meaning that the Council has had to allocate additional funds from the overall budget for leisure centre refurbishments to West Wickham. While there has been an overall reduction in available funds for both leisure centres’ refurbishments, officers emphasised that Orpington would not be disadvantaged because of this, as the leisure centres and their funding are being treated entirely separately. Extra funds are being requested for both centres to carry out their refurbishments to their full potential, with officers emphasising the urgency of approving these works to prevent any potential loss of funding opportunities.. 


The full proposal can be found here. It was discussed at a meeting of the Renewal, Recreation and Housing committee on Wednesday 17 April, and confirmed by the Council’s Executive committee the following day.


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