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Larkfield Leisure Centre

Project value: £2m

Client satisfaction: 10/10

Local labour within 20 miles: 54%

Local labour within 40 miles: 99%

SME spend: 97%

SME engagement: 89%

There was good communication throughout which aided quick decision making.

Stuart Edwards

Property Services Officer

To continue delivering leisure facilities to the local community of New Hythe, Larkfield Leisure Centre required the refurbishment of the swimming pool, plant room and roof.

Larkfield Leisure centre provides sports and leisure facilities for residents in the village of New Hythe in Kent and the surrounding area. The centre is also used by local schools and community groups. Alongside the pool, the centre has a gym and fitness and exercise studios and runs a comprehensive timetable of classes.

The original leisure centre was built in the 1980s but has been upgraded over the years. This latest phase of the upgrade was the refurbishment of the swimming pool and plant room along with a complete re-roof of the pool. This has resulted in much needed and vastly improved leisure facilities in East Malling.

This £2.3m project, delivered by Kier, was technically very complex due to the nature of the work and the live, operational environment of an existing wet leisure facility.

The project was undertaken whilst the leisure centre remained open and fully operational. This meant Kier had to make special provision to allow safe access for the public and they couldn’t switch of any utilities such as power and heating during the centre’s opening hours.


Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council commissioned Kier to update and refurbish the section of the leisure centre that houses the leisure pool. Kier replaced ductwork, refurbished and installed new ductwork in the old plant room and carried out major refurbished of the air handling unit. The barrel vault roof was replaced and the internal frame redecorated.

Two old, gas fired boilers were removed and temporarily replaced until the new Wessex ModuMax boilers could be installed. These gas fired boilers are fully modulating, condensing, fan assisted, open flued central heating and hot water systems. By using the latest gas/air ratio control technology they provide clean efficient operation and have a large output range.

The Leisure Centre’s Air Handling unit was also replaced with an efficient AmberAir 15-KR MD50 R S unit.

The kitchen and café were refurbished and the air handling unit was replaced along with control panels, controls and wiring to modernise and update the facilities.

Larkfield leisure centre is open 364 days a year from 5am – 11pm and remained open during the refurbishment of the leisure pool, roof and plant room. The Kier team made safe provision to allow the general public to use the centre by creating 2 temporary, enclosed tunnels (as walkways) which were of such a high standard the public assumed they were part of the building, in addition, the team worked overnight when the centre was closed to the public to further minimise disruption.

The leisure centre continued to provide fitness classes and swimming sessions and lessons throughout the build until the Covid 19 pandemic resulted in the closure of the Larkfield Leisure centre in March 2020. Kier however, continued working on the project but this was made easier because there weren’t any customers but 2 metre distancing and limited numbers on-site off-set some of the advantages.

During the project, Kier didn’t receive any complaints relating to disruption, noise or inconvenience. The Kier team received a safety leadership award from the Managing Director at Kier London and South East for their exemplar work at Larkfield Leisure centre.

This project was completed within the agreed timeframe and budget. A policy of regular monitoring and communication between the site team and sub-contractors was established and this created a positive working culture. Frequent meetings took place and Kier adopted an open-door policy to enable swift response and resolution on site.

Kier staff worked incredibly hard on what was a very complex scheme due to the breadth of work and having to work in an operational leisure centre. Kier's site staff were always willing to engage and assist wherever they could. There was good communication throughout which aided quick decision making and meant any issues could be identified and addressed early.

Stuart Edwards

Property Services Officer


Client satisfaction


Local labour spend within 40 miles


SME spend

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