Wokingham Borough Council planning bosses approve proposals for new Dinton Activity Centre

Planning bosses at Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) voted in favour of proposals for a new Dinton Activity Centre at a meeting on Wednesday, August 12.

The new centre is set to feature a two-storey building, providing an activity hall, ‘state-of-the-art’ facilities, teaching spaces, changing areas and a coffee shop which opens onto the terrace overlooking the lake.

Numerous eco-friendly functions, which support the council’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, will also feature, including photovoltaic panels on the roof, windcatchers and air source heat pumps.

The centre’s features will be designed to connect it to its location in Dinton Pastures Country Park, with its exterior featuring Siberian larch, which weathers over time to blend with its natural surroundings.

The current activity centre will continue to operate as usual while the new one is built.

Due to additional requirements discovered during the planning process, the centre, which is due to open by Easter 2021, will now cost £2.4million, which is up £600,000 on the original capital bid of £1.8million.

Feedback given by local councillors and residents during the pre-application stage culminated in changes to the centre’s appearance, while the planning process also identified further structural requirements.

Further Environment Agency requirements were also found regarding the new pedestrian bridge, which is set to go through a separate planning committee at a later date.

The project will remain self-financed with income generated by outdoor education and recreation activities.

Cllr Parry Batth (Con, Shinfield North), executive member for environment and leisure said: “I am sure residents will share my excitement as we edge closer to the opening of our new state-of-the-art activity centre.

“Dinton Pastures Country Park welcomes more than 20,000 visitors a year and is much loved by the local community.

“The water sports and activities offered by the team are second to none, so it’s important that we invest in the centre’s upkeep, whilst also working towards our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.”

Alex Pullin, project architect, HLM Architects, said: “This new centre will be a modern, fit-for-purpose replacement of the current venue that places the community’s needs at the front and centre.”

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