Council reveals plans for £5m swimming complex – Newark Advertiser

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Newark and Sherwood District Council has announced plans to build a new £5.5m swimming complex.
It will be built in Southwell to replace the existing leisure centre pool – which the council confirms will not re-open after a serious leak was discovered.
The proposal for a new swimming pool, learner pool and associated changing facilities will be presented to its cabinet meeting on Tuesday (December 19) for approval
Council leader Paul Peacock said: “Southwell Leisure Centre is a well-used and important community facility that has served the local area well for about 60 years.
“Not surprisingly, it is showing signs of its age and having taken on the facility two years ago to rescue it from closure, the council is having to spend a lot of money sorting out longstanding repair items. The most significant of these is the main pool which has been leaking a large amount of water.
“We closed the pool to investigate the cause of the leak and following extensive investigations, we have concluded that spending over £600,000 to fix the pool would not be good use of taxpayer’s money.
“Instead, we want to build a completely new swimming facility on land adjacent to the current leisure centre. This will cost a lot of money – an estimated £5.5m – and we’ll need the support of partners and landowners to make it happen. But this is better value for money in the long term and should be seen as a first step towards replacing all of the current leisure centre with a new one.”
Susan Crosby, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and leisure, said: “Leisure centres play an important role in keeping people fit and preventing ill health.
“They also bring people together to socialise which is great for mental health. So, we’re committed to not just safeguarding leisure centre provision but improving it where we can.
“People will be understandably disappointed that the main swimming pool will remain closed, but my message is to bear with us and look forward to a brand-new swimming facility.”
Andy Freeman, chairman of Active4Today, said, “As we have said from the beginning, we are committed to ensuring there is a fantastic leisure offer in Southwell.
“We know that our Southwell community use and really appreciate their facility and a new main swimming pool, new learner pool and new changing facilities reinforces our commitment to them all.
“While building a new pool is our immediate priority, our vision is for this to trigger the build of a new leisure centre entirely which really is just great news for Southwell.”
In the short term, swimmers can visit the main pools in Newark and Ollerton while the new pool is being built.
Newark and Sherwood CVS offer a Door2Door transport service to help those people who are unable to drive and struggle to access or use public transport to get to these sites.
Mr Freeman said: “A new pool through to an entire new centre can’t be built overnight so over the next few months the dry side facilities at the leisure centre will be invested in to keep fresh and in good working order. The learner pool too will remain open throughout the build of the new pool.”
Hollie Wilbraham, a regular swimmer at Southwell Leisure Centre said: “I have swam regularly at Southwell Leisure Centre over several years and my children have been part of Active4Today’s swimming lesson programme too.
“I’m really pleased to hear that a new swimming pool is to be built in Southwell, which will be fantastic, especially for the children. It’s great that in the interim the learner pool will remain open for children and their families, but I’m really excited about the thought of a new and modern pool in Southwell.”
Andy Carolan, managing director of Active4Today, said: “We will ensure all our customers, new and old, receive a warm welcome and great experience when they visit.
“I am really looking forward to sharing our plans for the new pool with you and I will keep all our centre users up to date. Following previous letters, information is being sent to our customers individually and anyone with any questions is encouraged to call the leisure centre on 01636 655780. All other facilities at the leisure centre remain open, including the learner pool which will stay open until its replacement is up and running.”