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  • Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex

    Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex

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  • Client Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Location Newtownards
  • Duration 22 months
  • Completion 21 December 2018
  • Value £30m

Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex

Versatility has been right at the heart of over six decades of success at Heron Bros. This very evident in abundance during the construction of the landmark Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.

The £30million project for Ards and North Down Borough Council has recorded unprecedented demand since opening earlier this year, mainly due to the versatile nature of the building and the wide variety of activities on offer.

Gone are the days that a council- run leisure centre consists of a rectangular swimming pool and a multi-purpose sports hall and that change is epitomised at Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex, which consists of a dome-covered synthetic turf training area, sports halls, swimming pools, fitness suites and luxury spa.

The swimming facilities in the Aqua Zone encompass a six-lane 25-metre indoor main pool, a 20-metre indoor minor pool, both with movable floors, a splash pool in its own space for interactive water-based play, and spectator gallery which can accommodate 160 people alongside modern changing facilities. There is also a new water-based play area for children up to 7 years old. In addition to the sports hall, with courts for netball, basketball and racket sports, there is a separate, dome-covered synthetic turf training area that allows sports and training to continue whatever the weather.

The luxury spa rivals that of many 5-star hotels and comprises of  vitality and chill pools, a sauna, aroma steam room, sanarium, salt grotto and relaxation area while, in a UK first, the Blacklight Adventure Zone includes adventure golf, climbing walls and high ropes. The contemporary gym has three fitness studios and a spacious 110-station gym while there is also a children’s soft play area. Externally, there is a diversity play area and sensory garden, biking pump track, wheel park for skateboarding, scooters, BMX and inline skating.

Heron Bros is renowned for delivering high quality leisure projects, including the National Indoor Arena, Dublin and Aberavon Leisure Complex, Port Talbot while the company’s ability to complete complex projects in the education, healthcare, office and retail sectors made the experienced contractor the perfect choice for Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex.

With so many different aspects, the unique design became a veritable jigsaw for the team at Heron Bros but, as explained by Theresa McErlean, Contracts Manager, an immense sense of teamwork made this an enjoyable project.

“This was a unique and complex project with a wide range of challenges throughout but it also had a great team of individuals all pulling in the same direction,” she said. “We’re proud of how smoothly the construction process went and at the high standards we achieved. The positive feedback and reaction to the new centre has also made it all worthwhile.”

Believed to be the first centre of its kind in Northern Ireland with the swimming pools on the first floor as opposed to the more traditional ground floor, the striking shape of the building also offered Heron Bros with a challenge. A late request from the client to allow members of the public onto the site to carry out their gym induction ahead of the official opening was another hurdle the team had to clear.

“We enjoy a challenge at Heron Bros, so these didn’t cause too many problems,” added Theresa. “We take pride in how we prepare and plan for projects but we are also experienced enough to know that you will always face changes and different demands, so we can also be flexible.”

These qualities saw Heron Bros complete another complex build with consummate ease, adding Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex to an already impressive portfolio of successful projects.

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Project Design

Concept Architect: McAdam Design Architect: McAdam Design Services Engineer: JCP Structural Engineer: WYG

Key Features


  • 6-lane 25-metre main pool with movable floor
  • 20-metre minor pool with movable floor
  • Splash pool for interactive water-based play
  • Water-based play area for children up to 7 years old
  • 160 seated spectator gallery
  • Modern changing facilities


  • Sports hall, with courts for netball, basketball and racket sports
  • Dome-covered synthetic turf training area
  • Children’s soft play area


  • Vitality & chill pools
  • A sauna & aroma steam room
  • Sanarium & salt grotto
  • Relaxation area


  • Adventure golf
  • Climbing walls
  • High ropes


  • 3 fitness studios
  • 110-station gym


  • Diversity play area & sensory garden
  • Biking pump track
  • Wheel park for skateboarding, scooters, BMX & inline skating.





Construction Excellence Awards 2019 - Social Community Construction Finalist
Gold Considerate Constructors Scheme National Site Award 2019
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We would highly recommend the excellent work of Heron Bros and have found the team to be highly competent, dedicated, professional, flexible and enjoyable to work with.

Andrew ScottHead of Performance and Projects at Ards and North Down Borough Council