Leak discovery further delayed pool opening

A mystery leak was behind further delays in reopening a town swimming pool, prior to the latest lockdown.

Nick Saxby has raised concerns over the prolonged closure prior to this week's fresh lockdown.
Nick Saxby has raised concerns over the prolonged closure prior to this week's fresh lockdown.

Questions had been asked as to why Whitchurch Swimming Centre had not been able to reopen when government rules were relaxed to allow people to return to leisure centres, while others across the county had.

Shrpshire Council had previously said the pool would remain shut until social distancing was no longer required, with the building’s layout preventing it from being deemed Covid-safe.

But it has emerged that the discovery of a leak in the pool further delayed any possible arrangements being made to reopen it.

Speaking at a meeting of Shropshire Council’s cabinet, Lezley Picton, portfolio holder for leisure, said the council was working with Shropshire Community Leisure Trust, which runs the centre, to fix the problem.

She was responding to a public question submitted by Whitchurch resident Nick Saxby, who accused the council of ignoring the town’s needs to the detriment of people’s health and wellbeing.

Councillor Picton said: “The bottom line is that until social distancing rules are relaxed, it isn’t possible to provide a Covid-19 secure environment to allow access.

“Priority in all cases where access to council buildings is considered is the safety of the users, the staff and the community and where risks can be mitigated effectively a community facility will be reopened.

“Being unable to open the facility while complying with government guidance is the main problem, although the situation is now further clouded by a water leak in the pool.

“Shropshire Council’s property services team, working in partnership with the trust, is investigating the cause of the leak. Once investigations are completed and a solution identified, a decision can be made as to the feasibility of undertaking the required work.”

Councillor Picton said work to try and find the cause of the leak would be carried out during the current lockdown.

She said: “It’s a complex process. Potential causes are gradually being eliminated but I have to say at the moment they are eluding us.

“There is a substantial cost to this investigative work and therefore the council and the trust are continuing to invest in the centre.

“We need to identify the water leak and at the same time attempt to develop procedures for a currently Covid non-compliant building.

“Obviously now we will have at least another month to do that work.”

Mr Saxby had also raised concerns around the financial implications of the closure, and his submitted question asks for details of the extent to which the council is still paying for contracted services.

Councillor Picton said: “We are contractually obliged to continue paying the trust. We sought external legal advice at the beginning of the lockdown period and this confirmed this.

“The council also has funding agreements with other facilities operators which are also being honoured.

“The council has also made additional revenue support payments to all facilities operators due to the lack of income incurred due to the closure of the leisure centres.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News