Askern Leisure Centre Decarbonisation & Refurbishment

Making a splash in sustainable leisure

Askern, South Yorkshire
Community, Leisure, Re-use
Askern, South Yorkshire
Community, Leisure, Re-use
Equans & Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust

01 Overview

Askern Leisure Centre, containing a coal-fired 1960s swimming pool, stood as the last of its kind in England. Over time, the facility faced challenges of viability and sustainability, necessitating a comprehensive refurbishment to modernise its infrastructure and reduce its environmental impact.

The refurbishment of Askern Leisure Centre was driven by the urgent need to replace its outdated coal boiler with energy-efficient Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs). Additionally, upgrades to the building fabric—including new windows, cladding, and roof—were essential to improve thermal efficiency. Internal refurbishments revitalised the facility, ensuring it meets modern standards for safety, accessibility, and comfort.

02 Community and Stakeholder Engagement

The refurbishment of Askern Leisure Centre was not just about updating infrastructure but also about enhancing community well-being. Stakeholder engagement focused on improving local service provision, supporting health, social, and cultural well-being in an area with higher-than-average unemployment and physical inactivity rates. The project aims to reduce health inequalities and foster a more active community.

Changing room The scheme included the re-development of the changing spaces to provide a modern family friendly facility
Exercise studio
Entrance The entrance space has be re-designed to accommodate a 'grab and go' coffee counter
Accessibility With accessibility high on the agenda, the scheme was re-worked to allow for the inclusion of a changing places room.

03 Climate Leadership

Switching to all electric heating and cooling systems

The decarbonisation initiatives implemented at Askern Leisure Centre demonstrates the Councils commitment towards achieving net-zero emissions. The lighting system has been upgraded to energy-efficient LED fittings, and the coal-fired boiler has been replaced with a set of high-efficiency Air Source Heat Pumps.

All non-masonry elements of the existing building were re-clad, the building re-roofed, new glazing and doors were fitted throughout. This package of measures not only improved the thermal performance of the building envelope, but also significantly reduced air leakage and associated energy losses.

The team also carried out significant structural repairs to the 1960’s reinforced concrete frame, which had degraded owing to the corrosive atmosphere created by coal fuel storage, and implemented significant internal and external reconfigurations to improve fire safety within the building. Materials were selected to provide longevity and to reduce future maintenance requirements.

This transformation has reduced annual CO2 emissions dramatically, from 343.1 to 44.3 tonnes, setting a pioneering benchmark for sustainability in leisure facilities. Beyond the immediate financial benefits, these changes establish a blueprint for future developments within the council’s leisure portfolio, influencing national standards for the design and renovation of sports facilities.

Replacement of existing coal powered plant with low energy systems

Project team


Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber Awards Net Zero Regional winner 2023
Next project

Tunstall Arrow

Industrial enterprise