CHELMSFORD’S new Riverside Leisure Centre will officially open its doors on Monday – with new pictures showing the state-of-the-art swimming pool.

Work on the new complex began in September 2017 and now the final touches are being put on the project.

Despite excitement among residents, the project has suffered criticism – particularly for going over budget with costs rising from £25million to £40million.

The 10-lane, 25-metre pool is the centrepiece of the new facility.

It can be enjoyed by the general public at more times than ever before, thanks to a high-tech adjustable barrier which allows half of the pool to stay open to the public while swimming lessons and specialist sessions take place in the other half.

Chelmsford City Council’s chief executive, Nick Eveleigh, says the ambitious scale and design of the new centre will allow it to serve the whole community for decades to come. He said: “The people of Chelmsford have been foremost in our minds as we have planned and delivered this project; a cutting-edge centre to do the city justice and have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives here.

“Everything we have designed, from the building to individual sessions, has had this principle in mind.

“We’re hoping that the new centre will give people more opportunities than ever to both enjoy the city centre and lead active lives.”

Accessibility is a key part of the centre’s mission.

The building is fully accessible for all users, with two ‘Changing Places’ units – these are the gold standard for accessible toilets, bigger and better-equipped than standard accessible facilities.

It also has a programme of pioneering ‘Sport for Confidence sessions for anyone experiencing barriers getting into sport. These subsidised classes, run by qualified coaches and occupational therapists, will be available for £2.60 a session and occupational therapists will be on hand every Wednesday and Friday to give free advice and support.

A free ‘Community Celebration’ will take place on June 15 for all residents to try out their new centre, whether they are members or not.

Activities will take place between 12-7pm, including free coaching from Chelmsford Swimming Club, free coaching from the Ice Professionals, fun pool sessions, free body composition testing and personal training in the gym.

Leisure Centre manager Sarah Smith said it’s a great way for people to find out what’s on offer:

She added: “We’ve known for a long time how good Riverside will be, but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself.

“We really hope the different activities and opportunities at our new site will enrich many lives here in Chelmsford and we’d love to see you at our Community Celebration - our centre is for everyone.”

The old Riverside centre will close from Sunday 2 June to prepare for the opening of the new centre.

The new site, including the refurbished ice rink and sports hall, will open to the public at 5.30am on June 10.

To find out more about the new Riverside and the Council’s other three Leisure Centres, visit: