Today, Derby City Council’s ambitious plans for a state of the art swimming and leisure facility move a step closer to reality, with the launch of a public engagement exercise.

From the outset, I’ve promised that we will listen to the views of residents and make sure that our designs for Moorways meet your needs.  After all, we will only have one opportunity to get this right as we look to build a facility that will serve the city for decades to come. This is an opportunity for Derby people to have their say.

For the last year, the Council has been working alongside a team of experts to help develop proposals that will deliver a modern, exciting and financially sustainable facility for our city. I’m pleased to be able to present our ideas to you from today.

As you will see, our plans include a ten-lane, 50 metre swimming pool; leisure water for families and a training tank for those taking to the water for the first time. Alongside these water spaces, there are a range of additional features included in the proposals. We believe that this new complex will help make Derby a great place, to live, work and visit.

What this facility will provide in abundance is flexibility. The 50 metre pool contains two booms and two moving floors, meaning that it can be easily divided into three separate 25 metre spaces as required.

This is ideal for managing the competing demands for pool space from clubs, teaching groups and casual swimmers. With seating for over 400 spectators and a timing room, the pool will also be capable of hosting regional competitions.

As is the norm for modern leisure centres, changing facilities will be provided in the form of an open-plan, unisex area with single, double and family cubicles, as well as accessible changing for disabled visitors.

From the start we have had the ambition to include leisure water as part of the new swimming pool complex. These plans include leisure water that could potentially incorporate a play structure and slides. We will continue to progress designs for the leisure water as we work on the detailed designs. While this isn’t designed to compete with some of the larger commercial waterparks in the region, it will no doubt prove a big draw for families.

We are clear that we want to provide opportunities for people to learn to swim. Contained in the design of the building is a shallow learner pool, which is intended for tuition and those wishing to swim with a little more privacy than afforded in the main tank.

Meanwhile, the inclusion of a cafe, soft play, gym facilities, fitness studio, steam and sauna rooms, as well as a number of flexible multi-use spaces and treatment rooms, will help ensure the complex is financially sustainable. These added extras will generate the revenue needed so that the complex doesn’t become a burden on local taxpayers in years to come.

Last April, my Cabinet colleagues and I agreed for designs to be prepared up to a maximum cost of £35 million. I’m pleased to report that our plans fall within that envelope. We are now in the process of preparing the budget for 2018/19, which will include the funding necessary to move this ambitious project forward. We are also on course to open the new centre to the public in 2020.

While we want Moorways to include all the amenities you would expect from a modern facility, we also want it to be visually appealing. Our designs have a particular focus on natural light, with large windows offering great views both inside the main pool halls and of the surrounding landscape.

What is more, I believe the ultra-modern, metallic design is befitting of the sites’ location on the edge of the Rolls-Royce campus, reflecting the hi-tech manufacturing that our city is known for. While I recognise that architecture can be a matter of personal taste, it will be interesting to see what residents make of the designs.

We are also looking to include a range of innovative energy saving technologies within the leisure complex such as combined heat and power, advanced LED lighting and heat recovery systems as part of the ventilation.

I urge you to take a look at our plans and let us know what you think. Whether you consider yourself a competitive swimmer, enjoy a casual dip every week or have fond memories of swimming at Moorways over the years, then please get involved in our public engagement exercise.

Together, we can fine-tune our proposals to ensure Derby gets the leisure complex it deserves and a strong future for swimming in the city.

Make sure you have your say and visit the In Derby website to take part in the consultation.