Disabled parking space in Riverside car park

Riverside is proud to be in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme, which aims to assist those with hidden disabilities.

You can find out more about the Hidden Disabilities scheme or speak to a member of our team.

Visual guide

To help you find out more about Riverside Leisure Centre and prepare for your visit, we've produced a visual guide which explains how to find your way around and use our facilities. 

The guide will show you the different areas of the building, how you access them, our accessible facilities in each area and rules about using the centre.

You can view the visual guide for Riverside.


We offer seven extra wide accessible parking bays in the our open air Victoria Road car park, and five in our undercroft car park, with a drop off area next to the centre. You can access the accessible parking space from Victoria Road. 

We also offer extra wide bays at our Waterloo Lane 2 and  Waterloo Lane 3 car parks.  

Automatic doors to Riverside partially open

Access into the centre 

Riverside has two entrances; one from Victoria Road and one from the town centre next to the river bank.

Both centre entrances and exits are at ground floor level, with ramp access at the riverbank entrance. The reception desk is open with a low level area making it accessible for wheelchair access. 

Riverside staff are trained to support a range of needs.

Staff serving customers at Riverside reception

Movement around centre 

The centre has level floors throughout, with two lifts; one giving access to the ice rink area and the second providing access to the gym, studios, meeting rooms and pool spectator platform.

All barriers have wide entry access and low-level touch points for easy access when tapping through using your ourChelmsford card. Doorways are also extra-wide to help with customer flow.

All signage around the centre has been produced with accessibility in mind and social stories are currently being developed for different areas of the centre.

Hearing impairments

We operate a hearing loop at Riverside.

Visual impairments and assistance animals

Guide dogs and assistance animals are welcome in centre to assist their owners.

Accessible toilet facilities, including hoist and changing table

Changing and toilets  

Pool changing (ground floor)  

We have fully accessible ground floor pool changing, with an accessible changing room as well as a Changing Places unit.

Dry change 

Our male and female dry changing rooms are located on the ground floor towards the back of the centre near our soft play. They each have wide entrance-way access, spacious changing areas with benches and an accessible toilet.

We also offer large, lower level lockers in our entrance way by the gym, for those using dryside facilities such as the gym or studios.

Changing Places

We have two Changing Places units in the new centre; one in the pool changing area on the ground floor, and one next to the dry changing area on the first floor.


There are 6 accessible toilets throughout the new centre; three on the ground floor and three on the first floor:

Ground floor

  • pool changing 
  • Paddy and Scott's cafe
  • soft play

First floor

  • next to the spin studio
  • next to the meeting rooms
  • ice rink changing

Baby changing

We also have baby changing facilities throughout the centre, located in some of our accessible toilets:

  • five in the pool changing
  • one in the creche
  • one in our soft play
  • one in the ice rink
  • one in our ground floor cafe
Woman in wheelchair being lowered safely into pool at Riverside

Pool accessibility

We have a submersible platform and pool pod providing access into both sides of our 25m, 10-lane main pool, giving swimmers who need it access to whatever part of the pool they need, even during classes. Please contact reception when you arrive if you need to use these. Alternatively feel free to call 01245 615050 to speak to one of our team.

The main pool also has an adjustable floor and is sometimes split into two sections, allowing different sessions to take place at the same time.   

We also have a hoist allowing access to our learner pool, as well as a sloped entry splash zone.

Wheelchair users can spectate the main pool from the first floor. The spectator platform is accessible through the barriers next to reception and via the green lift. Once on the first floor, follow the signs for the meeting rooms and continue on past these to the spectator area.

Mezzanine floor at Riverside, with entrance to Studio 2

Gym and studios

Our first floor gym and studios are all accessible via the green lift, with level floors and wide doorways and barriers throughout.

The doors for the gym are automatic. The studio doors are fire doors, and may be heavy.

We have a huge variety of gym equipment suitable for those with accessible needs.

For any queries, please speak to our team on 01245 615050. Carers assisting customers in the gym can come in free of charge.  

Sport for Confidence coach working at Riverside sports hall

Pool and exercise class sessions

We aim to make our classes and sessions accessible to all and welcome customers to attend with carers if required (carers attend free of charge). 

We offer a variety of accessible sessions, including multi-sports, basketball, swimming and boccia, supported by Sport for Confidence

These sessions are available for anyone experiencing barriers getting into sport and a Sport for Confidence occupational therapist is also available to support customers living with disabilities, dementia, and autism. Please see Sport for Confidence for information.

We run public sensory sessions which include use of sensory lights, sounds and equipment. This session takes place in the learner pool and runs alongside a public swimming session in the main pool.  

In addition, there are plans to run a monthly ‘relaxed’ session which sees the centre close certain areas for an autism-friendly session, where customers and carers can enjoy use of the learner pool and its sensory equipment, including underwater jets, chair nets for children to lie on, low lighting and light and colour projections on the walls. 

Staff serving at cafe in Riverside


Our  ground floor café Paddy and Scott's is fully accessible from reception and is open to the public. It has an open entrance-way, low level serving desk, with easy access out onto the deck and accessible toilet facilities.

Report a website issue

You can report issues with the website using this form, which will go directly to the Web Team. This team will be unable to deal with your enquiry if it is not related to the website.

(Please give the URL of the page, such as https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/council-tax/bands-and-amounts/)


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