Barking & Dagenham, London

Faced with an over-subscribed swimming facility, this London Borough needed ReCreation’s help to build a 50-metre pool, annexed onto the existing site, on a very limited budget.


To provide a 50m, Olympic-length swimming pool, annexed onto an existing leisure facility that already housed a 25m pool, in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (LBBD).

Becontree Health Leisure Centre in Barking and Dagenham is one of the UK’s most visited leisure centres, with 475,000 swims per annum. When a 25m pool was no longer able to accommodate Learn to Swim lessons and the community’s swimming club, a solution had to be found.

With a budget of less than £2.5m, LBBD and operator Everyone Active required a cost-effective but high-quality and long-lasting Olympic-length pool to improve swimming opportunities for the club and the local population.


ReCreation identified wasteland at the back of the existing leisure centre and designed an above-ground, 50m swimming tank that stayed within the client’s budget. The new pool was annexed onto the existing facility and was designed to be in keeping with the original building.

ReCreation’s expertise is in building above-ground pools at a fraction of the cost of traditional build methods. It meant that this project resulted in the first permanent, Olympic-length swimming pool ever built using Modern Methods of Construction for less than  2.5m.

The final project combined a constant depth 50m pool including superstructure, plant room, changing rooms and small reception space, as well as a cutting-edge District Heating Network providing heat and power to 250+ local homes and a Civic Centre.


  • Over-subscribed swimming facility with limited pool space
  • Fast build time required
  • Available land could not be excavated for a traditional, in-ground pool
  • Limited budget of £2.5m


  • Healthier and improved community wellbeing
  • Significant capital saving on new facility for the client
  • Short construction time

Facts and Features

  • 50m 4-Lane Swimming Pool
  • Changing Village
  • Cutting-edge District Heating Network
  • Construction time – 10 months
  • Cost – £2.5m
  • Opened January 2019