Elephant and Castle
The Castle leisure centre
The Castle Centre has been fully open since 30 April 2016.
This new £20m centre, funded by our local regeneration programme, features:
- a 25 metre six-lane swimming pool
- a learner pool with moveable floor
- a sauna and steam rooms
- a sports hall
- a fully equipped gym
- a dedicated spinning studio
- two exercise studios
- a crèche and café
- full disabled access and specialist equipment throughout
The centre is operated by Everyone Active. You can find activity timetables, pricing, opening times and general information on the leisure centre's website.
The Castle Centre is located at Elephant and Castle and is situated between St Mary's Churchyard and Brook Drive at:
2 St Gabriel Walk
Redevelopment project background
In 2010, we agreed to enter into a regeneration agreement with Lend Lease, paving the way for a historic £1.5bn regeneration of the Heygate Estate at Elephant and Castle.
The leisure centre didn't form part of the main agreement which led us to explore the options for providing a new leisure centre. Part of this included consultation with local residents, users and stakeholders about what they would like to see in a potential new facility.
In November 2010, the cabinet gave approval to progress with the design of a new leisure facility. The initial specification included:
- a six lane 25m swimming pool
- a learner pool
- four (badminton) court sports hall
- a gym and indoor cycle studio
- two exercise class and dance studios
- a crèche and café
After providing leisure services to local residents for almost 40 years, the leisure centre at Elephant and Castle closed its doors in June 2012. In June 2011, the cabinet agreed to enter into an additional agreement to sell 0.9 acres of the existing leisure centre to Lend Lease to build a 37 storey residential development with commercial space for shops and cafés. The delivery of the leisure centre is partially funded by the sale of the eastern half of the land.
You can learn more about the entire Elephant and Castle opportunity area including The Castle leisure centre and St. Mary's Residential.
Key programme dates
- spring 2012 - submission of planning application for both leisure centre and residential schemes
- summer 2012 - closure and commencement of demolition
- winter 2012 - demolition of existing leisure centre
- spring 2013 - construction of The Castle leisure centre begins
- early 2016 - opening of The Castle leisure centre
There have been four public consultations since the redevelopment project began in 2010. You can read the May 2012 feedback reports and exhibition boards, prior to planning submission, here:
- E&C leisure centre exhibition panel May 2012 (pdf, 1.4mb)
The first course of action was to ask customers and local residents what amenities they'd want from a new leisure centre and what might encourage them to use the centre, either for the first time or on a more regular basis.
We invited 7324 residents in the catchment area, defined by the Elephant and Castle opportunity area, and 866 customers with membership to reply to a short questionnaire. During the seven week consultation between August and October, we also met with the public at an exhibition at the centre with proposed options and took the same displays to community council meetings.
By the time the consultation closed on 8 October, we had received just over 1,300 (16 per cent) response rate, which was regarded as a huge success. The average response rate for similar exercises is between 2 and 5 per cent.
Key points from the consultation report were:
- total number of responses: 1316 (customers - 474, non users- 842)
- the swimming pool and gym options ranked the highest across all three categories
- customers requested the sports hall as the third most popular
- non-users requested exercise studios as the third most popular
In the first half of 2012, Lend Lease appointed consultants Soundings to conduct three public consultations to include the leisure centre, St. Mary's Residential and public realm. Each consultation targeted the previous respondents, and invited new recipients to become involved to provide feedback on the design proposals at the exhibitions held at the centre in January, March and May.
At the January exhibition, attendees saw newly designed leisure centre plans for the first time and 100 people provided their comments on the proposed design. This information was captured and considered by the project team and revised plans were presented again in March when over 230 visitors came to the centre and a further 80 feedback forms were completed.
Read the consultation reports for January and March here:
- E&C leisure centre consultation feedback report Jan 2012 (pdf, 1.6mb)
- E&C leisure centre consultation feedback report March 2012 (pdf, 1.8mb)
In May, the final consultation prior to planning submission took place with a demolition workshop to provide local residents with proposed options on the vehicle routes during the demolition of the leisure centre. The final display boards comprised of proposed external finishes of the building along with different elevations and floor plans, styles of water features and examples of previous work conducted by the suppliers.
You can download the exhibition panels presented in May, featuring the leisure centre, St Mary's Residential Tower and the public realm area around both buildings here:
- May 2012 Leisure centre display (pdf, 1.4mb)
- May 2012 St Marys Tower display (pdf, 3.6mb)
- May 2012 Public realm display (pdf, 2.1mb)
Castle Centre BREEAM information
BREEAM is the system used to measure the sustainability and energy use of newly constructed buildings. The new Castle Centre has committed to achieve a rating of 'Very Good'. As part of the process, we're publicising this information.
Page last updated: 20 January 2020