BUXTON Pool is set to re-open in April – a year later than planned – it has been announced this week.
Since the pool was closed for extensive refurbishment in November 2009, the much-delayed project has been hit by numerous problems.
It has now been revealed that the Pool will be handed back to High Peak Borough Council on April 4, to be followed on April 26 by the newly built state-of-the-art fitness gym.
However, the council and its leisure contractor, DC Leisure, will then need up to three weeks to clean the two facilities and iron out any minor post-construction problems before the buildings can open to the public.
Council Leader Tony Ashton said it had been a difficult and complex project.
“I’m most grateful to our customers and partners for their patience during this protracted project.
“However, I do hope that, when people see the new facilities, they will agree that it’s been worth the wait.
“At a time when many councils are cutting back on leisure facilities, we’re continuing to invest in the wellbeing of our communities and the promotion of healthy lifestyles,” he stressed.
Councillor Jean Wharmby, Executive Member for Social and Community Development: “It’s marvellous news that the people of Buxton and the High Peak will finally have leisure facilities that rival what the private sector has to offer but which are eminently affordable.”
With all structural problems resolved, the Council said project progress had accelerated since early December.
Work still to be completed includes installation of ceramic tiles to floors and walls, installation of suspended ceilings to the changing village and pool hall, and the introduction of lockers, changing cubicles and spectator seating.
Plans are now being drawn for an official opening.
However, the lack of a date for when the pool will actually re-open had come under fire from two Buxton councillors.
Cllr John Faulkner said: “Disappointingly there is no precise date for the opening of the pool. Is it to be before Easter or after Easter or in view of all the Bank holidays round then, early May?
“I hope it will be earlier rather than later. However, there does seem to be a lot of work still to do on site.
“The Council’s press release contained no hint of an apology or regret. Buxton and surrounding areas will have been without their swimming pool for a year longer than planned. For anyone, but particularly the old and the young, this is a very long time and it will take a lot of effort to get things back.”
“There is a certain arrogance running through the Council Press Release which is something I do not like.
“I think what Council Tax Payers and users of the facility would want to see is that lessons have been learnt and that the risk of something like this happening again is much reduced. To date I have seen no evidence of this,” added Cllr Faulkner.
Leader of the Labour Group on the Borough Council, Cllr Caitlin Bisknell said: “Of course news that the Pool is to be handed back to the Borough by the building contractors is good news – but what the residents of Buxton really want to know is: when will they be able to use the Pool?
“By April when the Pool is finally handed back it will have been closed for nearly 18 months and the re-opening itself will be more than a year late.
“In that time hundreds of local school children have missed out on the opportunity of free swimming and the membership of Buxton’s Swimming Club has fallen, with members travelling to Bakewell and Derby for training.”