Rainham, Essex

With a distressed leisure centre that was no longer fit for purpose and costing hundreds of thousands of pounds per year to operate, Havering Borough Council approached ReCreation to design and develop a new facility for local residents.


To design and build a new leisure facility to replace the ageing Chafford Sports Complex in the south of Havering.

Built in the 1970s, Chafford Sports Complex was unpleasant for customers to use, no longer fit for purpose and costing the local authority hundreds of thousands of pounds per year to operate.

ReCreation was approached to design and develop a new facility for the benefit of local residents to include a 25m pool, a spin studio, a yoga/dance space and fitness facilities. The facility also needed to be future proof and cost effective.


Like many London boroughs, Havering is experiencing rapid population growth and needs new leisure facilities to address long term community wellbeing. Building a new centre in the south of the borough in Rainham was the ideal location.

Working closely with the council and its planning department, ReCreation’s professional design team was able to fulfil the brief exactly as desired. The facility was to be built on a green space and was therefore designed to be ‘part of the park, not on the park’. We did this by building up the ground to the main entrance, incorporating new outdoor adult activity equipment, a new playground and even a new orchard to the north of the site.

To help the local wildlife, we also added swift boxes into the brickwork itself to form homes for nesting birds.


  • 1970s leisure centre needs replacing
  • Limited public funds available
  • Rapid population growth in the area
  • Replace old facility with like for like


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

Facts and Features

  • 25m 6-Lane Swimming Pool
  • 75 Station Fitness Suite
  • Spin Studio
  • Dance/Yoga Studio
  • Construction time – 14 months
  • Cost – £7.5m
  • Due to open May 2023