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HER Number:MDV122372
Name:Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Belmont Hill, Exeter

Summary

The Sports Centre was built in 1984-5 to a design developed by Bovis and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners in response to a competition to develop a standardised method for building new sports facilities. Constructed in steel and concrete. It closed in 2018.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 930 930
Map Sheet:SX99SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishExeter

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SPORTS CENTRE (XX to XXI - 1963 AD to 2018 AD (Between))

Full description

Historic England, 2018, Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Belmont Hill, Exeter (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361547.

Historic England have received an application to add Clifton Hill Sports Centre to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.


Historic England, 2018, Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Clifton Hill, Exeter (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361666.

Notification that Historic England have completed their initial assessment of the building in order to consider if it has special architectural or historic interest.
History
In 1980 the UK had 770 sports centres. Estimates were that by the early 1990s there would be capacity for 3000, and the Sports Council, propagating this increase in demand, ran a competition in order to develop a standardised method for building new facilities. Economy and speed of construction were the primary objectives, in order to achieve the great number that the Sports Council envisaged, on limited public funds. The competition was won by a team led by Bovis Construction Ltd, with Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners as architects, Arup as engineers, and Brian Clouston and Partners as Landscape Architects. The basic layout consisted of a sports hall, a fitness studio, social amenities and services, to which a range of additional facilities could be added, according the requirements of the local area. With the opportunity to access a 50% grant, the Sports Council hoped that 60 facilities would be built by 1987 - 27 were ultimately achieved. The first SASH centre was opened in 1982 in Eastbourne. A 1983 report in the RIBA Journal noted that, at that time, five centres were operational, and seven were under construction.
Exeter’s Clifton Hill Sports Centre opened in 1985, and closed in 2018.
Details
Sports centre, 1984-1985.
ARCHITECT: the SASH system was developed by Bovis and Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners in response to a competition by the Sports Council to increase the national provision of sports and leisure centres.
STRUCTURE and MATERIALS: a pin-jointed steel-framed building with internal load-bearing walls of concrete block. The roof is covered in long-span stressed-skin steel decking, and the external walls in high-tensile profiled steel cladding.
PLAN: the main range of the building is roughly square on plan and stands on the south side of Clifton Hill. The main entrance is central on the northern side of the building and leads to a large foyer and through-passage, off which, on the eastern side, are a gym, studio, changing rooms and toilet facilities. The western half of the building is occupied by the sports hall. A mezzanine, for boilers and plant, runs the length of the building. At the end of the
through-passage is a link to a secondary block containing two squash courts.
EXTERIOR: the main block of the leisure centre is a low, wide mass, a form emphasised by its horizontal cladding. The roof steps down in three stages from west to east, the higher section indicating the large sports hall within. The elevations are largely blind, besides for a series of porthole windows in red metal frames into the gym, with occasional others elsewhere. The original cowls to the windows have been removed. The main entrance is a
pair of glazed doors, which stand beneath a canopy, supported on corner columns and I-beams with circular piercings. There is a secondary block to the south, reached by a glazed link from the principal building. It is entirely blind externally. The cladding is painted grey with a red and blue stripe on the north elevation.
INTERIOR: internal walls are exposed concrete block, painted. The roof structure is left exposed in the sports hall, where three deep perforated beams supported the deck. The roof of the studio is also exposed, and elsewhere, suspended ceilings have been inserted. Red and blue nylon-coated sheet steel panels form deep bulkheads in the changing rooms, containing mechanical and electrical services. Doors, generally, are hollow-panelled with
porthole windows. There is a timber reception desk in the main foyer.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the external doors of the sports hall have detached curved brick screens, to provide a shield against inclement weather.


Historic England, 2018, Clifton Hill, Exeter (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV361718.

Notification that having looked at the architectural and historic aspects of the building, it is considered that, although a much loved local facility, the criteria for listing are not fulfilled. The building, therefore, has not been added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
Reasons for designation decision:
The Clifton Hill Sports Centre, 1984-1985, is not recommended for listing for the following principal reasons:
Degree of architectural interest:
* dating from a period in which particularly careful selection of buildings is required, and lacking the high
architectural quality necessary for listing;
* a functionally-effective building designed within tight budgetary constraints, but unprepossessing externally,
and utilitarian internally;
* without substantial innovation in terms of its construction, nor in the planning or provisions offered by the
building type.
Degree of historic interest:
* designed by an important High Tech architect, but not representative of the exciting and innovative buildings
that the firm were designing in the period;
* the SASH initiative is of some interest as a government-sanctioned social welfare project, bringing sports
facilities to the masses, but the buildings themselves were a refinement of an existing type, rather than an
innovation in themselves.
See report for full details.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Sports Centre marked.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #112343 ]
SDV361547List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Belmont Hill, Exeter. Notification of Application to Add Building to List. Digital.
SDV361666List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Clifton Hill Sports Centre, Clifton Hill, Exeter. Notification of Completion of Assessment. Digital.
SDV361718List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2018. Clifton Hill, Exeter. Notification of Decision Not to Add Building to List. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Aug 24 2018 10:35AM