No guarantee over pool opening date

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BUILDING contractors working on the redevelopment of Buxton Swimming Pool cannot give any assurances over completion dates, it has emerged this week.

The news comes after Brown Construction Group requested a further month extension to the project, which would delay the hand-over to High Peak Borough Council until May.

It was revealed by the council on Tuesday afternoon that the request for a further extension to the already much-delayed project was made last Friday night (March 11). This is currently under review by the council and its project managers.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council has been working to the assurances given by contractors Browns Construction Group and project managers Pick Everard for project completion in April, given to the council in January.

“Any further delays, for whatever reason, in this project are totally unacceptable.

“We share and understand our residents’ frustrations in these delays to the completion of this popular leisure facility. We will continue to liaise and work with user groups and others to do everything we possibly can to satisfactorily complete this project as soon as possible”.

“A further frustration is that due to the legal issues surrounding this project, we are unable to comment more publicly at this time.”

However, in a statement to the Advertiser the firm explained the reasons for the request:

“We can confirm that when we last updated the Council on 17 January 2011, the anticipated date for completion was 4 April 2011. This was based entirely upon the information in our possession at that time.

“Since that date, we have received significant numbers of instructions from the Council’s appointed Design Team which has increased the scope of our works and hence has led to the latest revision to the completion date.

“We have advised the Council that we are unable to give any assurances as to completion dates until such time as we receive full and final construction design information,” said the company.

It was back in November 2009 that Buxton Pool was closed for extensive refurbishment including new windows and roof and the installation of a modern changing village.

Originally due for completion by April 2010 the date was put back to June 2010 and then September 2010 when problems were identified with the concrete floor and the badly corroded structural steel frame. Asbestos was also discovered.

In January a date of April was given for the handover to High Peak Borough and DC Leisure with the pool expected to reopen two weeks later. The new state of the art gym was due to be handed over a few weeks after the pool.

• Buxton councillor Caitlin Bisknell, leader of the Labour Group on the council said: “I think its outrageous that it’s gone on for this long. It is now over 18 months since it closed.”

She said lessons needed to be learnt and called for an investigation to be held as soon as the project is completed to identify what when wrong.

Cllr Bisknell said: “The public need to know why it has taken so long to get this project sorted out.”