Bracknell Gymnastics Club uses gymnastics as an opportunity to develop health and well being, where everyone can participate and anyone can be inspired to achieve their dreams.

Since the beginning of 2018 Bracknell Gymnastics Club has been working with Bracknell Town Council on an exciting development project to bring a dedicated gymnastics facility to the people of Bracknell Forest. This venture has been in demand for many years but is now a matter of urgency.

This page is dedicated to updating local people on the project and answering some frequently asked questions.

Overhead view of the site

Overhead view of the site

Our intention is to create a brand new facility that not only promotes gymnastics for all levels but blends in to the local area. Through low impact design, we have minimised views from the East, whilst creating a unique and visually sensitive building.

Our intention is to create a brand new facility that not only promotes gymnastics for all levels but blends in to the local area. Through low impact design, we have minimised views from the East, whilst creating a unique and visually sensitive building.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How might this affect the wildlife?

We have undertaken extensive professional ecology surveys to take account of the wildlife in the area and ensure appropriate mitigation is in place to encourage more diverse wildlife in the future.

+ How might this affect dog walkers?

Walking routes will continue to exist around the building. Plus it's another opportunity to grab a coffee.

+ How might this affect people using the allotments?

Light: Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. With the building to the South of the allotments there should be no negative effect from shadows.

Parking: The centre will have ample parking and those visiting the allotments are welcome to make use of the car park, use the toilets or get a coffee/tea.

Noise: Although the access to the car park is to the North (by the allotments), the cars will go under the wooden arches and be further shielded from the allotments by a bank of trees. Noise from the building should also be minimised. Besides it being partially subterranean (although not from the allotment side), the walls will be solid concrete (ICF) with wooden cladding.

+ How might this affect people involved in Park Run?

The proposed development would enhance the park run with the route modified to go through the wild life area to the east of the carpark. In addition to this the carpark would be available to runners subject to the arrangement of gymnastics classes around the park run timing. The cafe could be opened to supplement demand should the pavilion be unable to meet demand.

+ How might this affect the people in Staplehurst?

Visibility: We have taken measures to conceal the building as much as possible to the South and East (Staplehurst). With the partial subterranean nature, 2m high earth rise around the car park and dense tree line (fully mature and semi mature trees) we are hopeful that will create a complete shield of the building and any moving vehicles.

Congestion: We do not anticipate that anyone would wish to drive up into Staplehurst to park and walk through. The centre’s own car park will be more than sufficient for the centre users and there will also be a convenient drop off point in the car park. However, should any users from Great Hollands area attempt to park their cars in Staplehurst we will of course be responsive to this from local residence and issue warnings. The centre’s car park will also be opened as a supplementary drop off and pick up point for Woodenhill Primary School, thus relieving some of the normal day to day congestion along the road.

+ How might this affect people visiting the crematorium?

There is not anticipated to be any impact on visitors to the crematorium. There will be minimal activity at the centre for most of the hours that the Crematorium is in operation.

+ How might this affect Pinewood Gymnastics Club?

Each club has a complimentary competitive focus. Pinewood Gymnastics Club has a long tradition for excellence in Women’s Artistic and Tumbling. Whereas, Bracknell Gymnastics has a focus on TeamGym, Cheerleading and Double Mini Trampoline.

Both clubs offer fully subscribed recreational programmes with long waiting lists. British Gymnastics surveys and the clubs’ waiting lists are further testament to the demand far outstripping the local supply for gymnastics.

We are eager for Pinewood to maintain their full programme. For healthy provisions of recreational activity people should have choices. Neither provision alone can adequately cater for the community demand for gymnastics.


"At Pinewood Gymnastics we strongly believe we have a role to support, lead and inspire all those involved or interested in gymnastics. We are excited for the journey Bracknell Gymnastics Club is undertaking in moving forward with their new premises that will increase the local capacity for gymnastics. Together we have a shared vision to meet the ever growing community demand for gymnastics across all ages and abilities, from recreational to world class performance." ~Carol Gregory (Club Manager) & Claire Austin (Club Chair)

+ How will it affect local traffic in rush hour?

Although traffic to South Road will see some increase, the timings of classes and and travel routes have been considered to minimise any distruption to the flow of traffic.

+ Is this development using council money?

No. This project is not being funded with any council money. In fact, the project has already contributed over £20,000 in respect of the planning application and will continue to invest in the up-keep of the local area.

+ How might this affect children at the local schools?

We have already had discussions about offering space in the facility during the day to many of the local schools.

"We are very excited about the prospect of a collaboration between Wooden Hill School and Bracknell Gymnastics Club. We have many ideas already as to how this can best support both the school and club but most notably it is the Club’s willingness to allow the pupils from Wooden Hill School to access its facilities during the school day. This will support the pupils’ learning enormously, as the school has limited space and therefore limited specialist resources. By allowing the pupils to access the Club for their lessons, this will enable the most effective teaching of gymnastics. It will also give primary pupils unique opportunities to learn new skills way beyond those which can be taught within the school setting. The close proximity of the Club and the School not only means that the physical resources can be easily shared but the skills of the coaches and staff." ~Wooden Hill.

Furthermore, having the facility in between the two recreational spaces provides another community facility that can offer added security to children walking home from school.

+ Why do you need this new facility?

We are currently turning away about 3-4 families a day because we do not have the capacity to accommodate the local demand for gymnastics. If we are to increase capacity, we need it to be fit for purpose and address current health and safety conditions. At present, Bracknell is one of the few clubs in the country not to have any sunken foam pits. As our gymnasts have grown into adults they have continued to participate and excel to an international level (which is a sport for life ethos we are very proud of). They are kept safe by the skills, speed and strength of our coaches to react when the gymnasts need them most when learning complicated skills. However, safeguarding 10 stone senior gymnasts rotating at 12-17 times their body weight of force comes with a price. As our coaches face wear and tear injuries such as ligament damage, disc degeneration and rotator cuff impingements, we need to create more sustainable conditions for them to work in. A facility with adequate height and safety equipment has been needed for a long time and will safeguarding the opportunities for all involved for many years to come.

+ Why this site?

As part of the process to find a site the gymnastics club has investigated some 30+different possible locations, ranging from existing commercial units to the proposed site. Many of the sites reviewed would not allow the proposed use or would not accommodate the changes required to make them viable. At this time the proposed site offers the best solution and this has been detailed in the sequential test.

+ How tall is the building?

Chages to the Original Plan:

  • The wall height to the north has been decreased from 8m to 6m.
  • The wall height from the south has been decreased from 4m to 3.7m.
  • The height of the apex of the roof has been decreased to from 11m to 10m.

Visibility from the housing estate to the East is unlikely due to approx. 50m of trees before the building (also taking into consideration the two metre earth rise surrounding the building). South side is expected to have 1m of visible wooden clad walls (behind the 2m earth rise). This 1m will be further broken by the wooden arches than create the roof and blend into the ground. The green roof will continue to gradually rise by another 3.2 metres, which will be covered with grass and wild flowers. A line of semi mature trees are also planned across the South side to further shield the building.

East side is expected to be invisible from the housing estate. Much like the South view, (particularly for the southern half of the building) the surrounding land is a higher level. With the 2m earth rise, full height protected trees which will tower over the building, additional tree planting and approximately 50 metres of green space to the boundary, our goal is invisibility.

North side will be fairly prominent but there will still be considerable shielding. The wall will be just under 6.2 metres which is the highest side for wall height. However, this will be shield by the wooden arches of the green roof which will blend the grass roof into the ground and tree line before the allotments. Cars will pass under the arches and along the wall of the building to give further shielding away from the allotments.

West side is the view from the road. Although the land slopes down from south to north, this is where the greatest amount of wall will be visible. However, this will be set back approximately 5 metres from the South side to 10 metres from the North side. The highest visible part of the wall (in the very centre) will be approximately 8 metres (at the point where the land has dropped away, but above the earth rise). There will also be shielding from mature and semi mature trees across this span. With the fully mature height of the popular trees lining the end of Downshire’s driving range we are confident that this will not be visible from the golf complex.

+ Is this likely to result in a housing development?

No this development would not open the site to housing developers. As the site would remain property of the council the use would be controlled not only by the local planning authority but also the town council.


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