Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Health and Recreation Department

South Lakes Leisure Centre


The centre comprises a 50m main pool (with moveable floor level), fun pool, a separate teaching pool, the largest gym in Northern Ireland, an 8-court sports hall suitable for several indoor sports, a range of studios including a dedicated spin room and dance studio, an open hub space with café and soft play area, two squash courts and an outdoor watersports adventure centre.

Where are we now


Planning submitted July 2017. Increased 50m pool including fun leisure pool with inflatable play equipment, a separate teaching pool and adjustable floor level, the largest gym in NI, an 8-court sports hall suitable for a number of indoor sports, a range of studios including a dedicated spin room and dance studio, an open hub with cafe and soft play area, an outdoor watersports adventure centre


Further extensive public consultation 2016, Council listened leading to internal redesign of poolside. Farrans Construction appointed


Stop & Think 2015 when Craigavon Borough Council became Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Borough Council


Various work done over the intervening years including equality impact assessment (2012) and appointing McAdam Design 2014


In 2009 the then CBC assessed various options taking the decision to replace the 3 aging centres


£35 million development replacing older centres of Waves in Lurgan (1965), Cascades Portadown (1969), & Craigavon Leisure Centre (1974) Brownlow

An Inclusive Centre for All

Council wants to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to visit & access the new South Lakes Leisure Centre. Council has engaged Disability Sport NI (DSNI) to help ensure that this new building is fully accessible for all our customers;

The objectives are –


  • Council & DNSI aims to develop sport & physical recreation for people with physical, sensory & learning disabilities.


  • To ensure compliance & enhancement to the Disability Discrimination (NI) Order 2006.


  • By working together, promote the sporting requirements of people with disabilities, including team sports, wheelchair sports & access to fitness equipment.


  • DSNI has assisted Council to meet our duties under the DDA; this has included working alongside the architect of the building.


  • Council wants to achieve the ‘Inclusive Sports Facilities Accreditation’ (excellence award) for the new South Lakes Leisure Centre.

The Inclusive Sports Facility (ISF) Accreditation Scheme

The ISF Accreditation Scheme has been developed by Disability Sport NI to encourage and recognise excellence in the design of sports facilities.

The Accreditation Scheme is awarded to sports facilities, which successfully meet the recommendations, outlined in Disability Sport NI’s Accessible Sports Facilities Design Guidelines (2016 Edition).


Council want to achieve the Inclusive Sport Facility Excellence Accreditation – this level of accreditation recognises optimum levels of good practice in new sports facilities.

A number of issues within the building that have been considered & modified include:



  • All external routes & pathways are the correct width to provide easy access.
  • Visual contrast will be adhered to & all street furniture is correctly installed with clear routes.
  • The number of accessible parking spaces is 28 & all are within 50m of the building
  • Rest stations will be installed in and around the facility.
  • A drop off point has been made available at the South entrance doors.


  • At the entrance to the building all signage will be clearly marked.
  • Automatic doors will be provided throughout the building.
  • Our entrance lobby will be designed to meet the needs of sports wheelchairs.
  • Our reception desks will be accessible for all & be visible from entrances.
  • We will ensure that there is a lower counter, knee space, signage & hearing loops.


  • Our corridors & door widths will be suitable for wheelchair users with passing points included in the building.
  • The circulation doors will have automatic opening & electro-magnetic hold open devices.


  • Our Lifts will accommodate more than 1 wheelchair user.
  • Tactile profile warning surfaces will be installed on to the stair flights.


  • WC layouts:
    • There will be clear access in w.c. layouts.
    • We will provide larger ambulant cubicles in w.c.’s, lower ambulant urinals, contrasting grab rails.
    • We will provide a lower wash hand basin with level taps for users with limited manual dexterity.
    • All accessible w.c.’s to have shelving set at appropriate heights.
    • We are providing 2 changing places facilities within the building


  • We are providing a number of inclusive changing & shower facilities.
  • Wider doors will be provided throughout these facilities.
  • Our design layouts to provide maximum inclusive flexibility.
  • C.’s will be in close proximity to accessible shower/ changing.
  • Fit out of accessible showers with seats, grab rails, controls, benching including space for transfer.


  • All benching installed will be height adjustable & deeper in width.
  • There will be provision for accessible lockers at a ranges of heights, knee space to some; assortment of full, half & quarter sizes. Consider large tactile numbers, including braille.
  • Provision of accessible grooming areas with mirror & dryers.



  • There will be shallow steps, pool pod will be provided at the 50m pool & hoists available for transfer.


  • Tables will be provided in the catering area which enable wheelchair users.
  • All accessible fitness equipment will have gloves & hand/foot straps.
  • The gym will have an accessible layout around the equipment.
  • Lighting in the building will be designed & installed to ensure accessibility & visual contrast.

Sports Hall

  • The acoustics in the hall will be considered to reduce confusion & discomfort, as echo & reverberation can be particularly problematic.


Accessible vantage points will be made available next to a companion in the following areas:

  • Pool area;
  • Squash courts;
  • Sports hall.

Bleacher seating will be modified to include:

  • Ramp access;
  • Elevated wheelchair viewing;
  • Fold-up arm rests;
  • Additional signage.


The signage will enable people with disabilities to successfully navigate around this new leisure facility unassisted.


  • Signs provided only where necessary;
  • A sign location will be developed for the building; however, they will be places in prominent key locations;
  • Our messages will be short & easy to understand; we will use plain English and universal symbols/pictograms;
  • All signs will comply with visual impairment guidelines.


  • This issue has been discussed with Disability Sport Northern Ireland to ensure all aspects of alarms within building are fully compliant.


  • An induction loop system will be provided to reduce background noise. This will be available at reception, sales counters, key meeting rooms and viewing gallery areas with PA system.



Dec 2017

Planning permission granted for new multi-million-pound leisure development will deliver first class facilities for a new era of better health, wellbeing and sporting ambition


Craigavon’s new state-of-the-art £30 million leisure centre plans have been given a seal of approval by the local planning authority, paving the way for a construction start date early next year and full access for all in 2020.


The long-awaited proposal, first put forward in 2010, is part of a wider and ambitious regeneration programme across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough area.


The biggest capital project ever undertaken by the Council, the new leisure centre will provide an enhanced facility to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of the whole Borough. The centre will be unique in in the region, offering indoor and outdoor leisure experiences from a single site.


The facility, which will be situated at the site of the existing Watersports Centre, adjacent to the Civic & Conference Centre and overlooking the South Lake, features an impressive eight-lane, 50-metre swimming pool, a teaching pool, fun pool and a spectator gallery.


Once complete, Craigavon will host one of the largest gyms on the island of Ireland, with visitors enjoying panoramic views. Customers will have state-of-the-art equipment, spin and dance studios, an extensive health and beauty suite, activity rooms, squash courts and a large sports hall suitable for a variety of sporting activities.

Dec 2017

Improved Design & Offering


Following an extensive consultation period with a range of organisations and people, the new super leisure centre at the South Lakeshore Craigavon now has an improved design and offering for all.

Costing in excess of £30million, the dynamic new leisure centre is the largest in Council’s ambitious capital investment programme.  This will significantly enhance the borough’s leisure product and be one of the best examples of indoor and outdoor leisure provision in the province catering to a diverse need of users.

Situated at the current site of the Watersports Centre, adjacent to Craigavon’s Civic & Conference Centre, people can enjoy a varied range of indoor and outdoor facilities that will provide opportunities for families and elite athletes alike.

Aug 2017


With a target date for completion in the spring of 2020, the South Lakes Leisure Centre incorporates a state of the art design and will have something to offer to everyone.

After extensive discussion with Councillors and a further round of talks with a wide range of organisations and people, the design team has carefully redesigned the building, effectively time-proofing it for future generations.

With an agreed budget of over £30m, the new leisure centre is the largest project in the Council’s ambitious capital investment programme and a landmark for Craigavon. It will significantly enhance the Borough’s leisure offering and be at the forefront of indoor and outdoor leisure provision in N.I.

Situated at the site of the existing Watersports Centre, adjacent to Craigavon’s Civic & Conference Centre, there will be a varied range of indoor and outdoor facilities providing opportunities for locals, families and serious athletes alike.

The centre comprises a 50m main pool (with moveable floor level), fun pool, a separate teaching pool, the largest gym in Northern Ireland, an 8-court sports hall suitable for several indoor sports, a range of studios including a dedicated spin room and dance studio, an open hub space with café and soft play area, two squash courts and an outdoor watersports adventure centre.

“I’m delighted to say that we’ve agreed a new interior design for the leisure centre”, comments Lord Mayor Alderman Gareth Wilson, “yes it’s taken time but Council wanted to and needed to make sure that this centre would meet residents’ requirements for many years to come.”

“It’s a very ambitious build and represents many months of planning, extensive consultation, revisions and further consultation. Council has carefully considered residents’ points of view and has come up with a centre that local people will get something from it and enjoy for many years to come”.

The Centre will be designed to the highest inclusive standards, achieving Disabled Sport NI ISF ‘excellence’ status.

The Centre will also use the latest technology to make the building and the services it offers as energy efficient and as sustainable as possible.

Council is committed to high levels of spend within the local market and small to medium sized enterprises; this project will provide significant employment opportunities for local residents and businesses.

Consequently Council has commissioned Farrans Construction through the Scape Procure National Construction Framework to build the new leisure centre. A core component and ethos of the Scape procurement system involves engaging with approved local businesses, sub-contractors and suppliers.

The South Lake Leisure Centre planning application is being considered by the Planning Committee in the very near future, with the outcome of that application anticipated later this year. It is expected that work on the much-awaited project will start in January 2018.

The first stage of the project will involve the temporary relocation of the current Watersports Centre moving it to the old pier beside Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre.

Access around the Lakes for walkers and cyclists will be maintained both during and after the building of the facility. The very popular Park Run has moved to Tannaghmore Gardens as the group has expanded and parking for the runners at the South shore was limited.

Meanwhile Council is proactively working to regenerate the sites on which the three existing leisure centres are based. Each will remain open until the new leisure centre is completed.