Worth the waiting?

Council leader Caitlin Bisknell celebrates the long awaited completion of Buxton's swimming pool
Council leader Caitlin Bisknell celebrates the long awaited completion of Buxton's swimming pool
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Set to make a splash – or will it be a damp squib?

A six-month project to transform Buxton Swimming Pool and create a new state-of-the-art gym will open to the public on August 1 – 15 months later than planned.

The new changing area at Buxton Swimming Pool

The new changing area at Buxton Swimming Pool

The 1970s building threw up numerous problems and unwelcome surprises causing numerous delays to the project.

But now issues which included corroded steel work, a poor concrete base – the discovery of asbestos in an area it was not expected – have been resolved and the public will soon get to use the new-look facilities.

While the pools remain unchanged – apart from re-tiling to the learner pool and to the area around the pools – very little of the building remains untouched.

The complex has been made fully accessible - with a new lift installed to the first floor - as well as disabled changing facilities and a ramped entrance.

The new changing area at Buxton Swimming Pool

The new changing area at Buxton Swimming Pool

The unisex changing village, with 200 lockers, offers a variety of cubicles for individuals, families and school groups.

Council Leader Caitlin Bisknell, who has promised a review to find out what went wrong so that lessons can be learnt, said of the new- look facility: “One of the most noticable things is how light and airy it is.”

The reception area has been redesigned and a new viewing area has been created poolside. A seating area with vending machines has also been incorporated. The new gym built between the Pool and the Octagon has its own changing facilities.

Upstairs the activity room has a new floor and will also be utilised as a dance studio and for aerobic sessions.

Buxton Swimming Pool, new seating area

Buxton Swimming Pool, new seating area

Improvements have also been made behind the scenes to the energy efficiency of the building with a new roof, improved heating system and underfloor heating. Extensive work was also carried out on the steel framework of the building.

Centre Manager Gail Brodkin is looking forward to welcoming people back into the centre. “We have a summer programme in place to start when we open on August 1,” she said.

A new term-time programme has also been drawn up to incorporate additional lane swimming and student swims, with the programme set to develop further over the coming months.

Swimming lessons will be resumed as soon as possible with priority given to those who were previously taking lessons.

The newly built gym at Buxton Swimming Pool

The newly built gym at Buxton Swimming Pool

They will be contacted in the next few weeks and invited to attend an assessment to see which level they are at.

“Obviously we will try and accommodate if people are away and they can book in when they get back,” said Gail.

Schools swimming sessions will return in September with the schools getting 36 weeks of lessons rather than 30.

For Jonathan Moss, High Peak Borough Council’s assets and facilities project manager, the end is in sight for the £3 million project.

However, the final cost of the project still to be determined. “At the moment we are still in discussions with the contractor but they are nearing a conclusion,” he revealed.

• What do you think of the new-look facility? Let us know at news@buxtonadvertiser.co.uk