The woes of Consett swimming pool became clearer tonight in a briefing for local councillors.
Nearly a year after the pool closed for the first lockdown, it has been announced that repairs costing between £1 and £1.5 million are required, and these will include the provision of modular stainless steel panels to form a comprehesive new “basin” for the reconstructed pools.
The problems, it is reported, all arise from “shoddy workmanship” in the construction, and have dogged the pool since the Leisure Centre opened in 2015.
The pool was commissioned as part of the Academy and Leisure Centre complex by a partnership between Durham County Council and the government backed partnership “Building Schools for the Future Investments”. Back in 2009 this partnership had selected Carillion to build all Durham’s new schools, and so the Leisure Centre was pre-destined to be built by the ill-fated company.
Less than three years later Carillion had collapsed. That left Consett with a deteriorating pool and a two year hiatus whilst it is resolved. It also left the county council with a conundrum. How do you seek redress from a company which no longer exists? And while you explore what legal avenues may exist, do you leave the people of Consett without swimming facilities?
The only good news I can take away is that we were assured by the cabinet member for regeneration that DCC will foot the bill for these swimming pool repairs up front, whether or not compensation can be gained through legal channels. It won’t be quick, but it will happen.
That’s good news, because if I was a betting man my money would not be on getting any money back.
The council representatives were also very cleat that:
- The defects arise entirely from faulty workmanship and have nothing to do with the site.
- They will try to make as much provision as they can for local swimmers through the Louisa Centre Pool.
- This time the pool will be re-built by a specialist contractor procured exclusively by Durham County Council, and the council is confident that the facilities will be no less good than the ones we believed we were getting back in 2015.
However you look at it, this is a very bad position for our town. We all need a lift as we look forward to the relaxation of lockdown rules, but it isn’t going to come in the form of a re-opened pool. The Leisure Centre will be able to reopen but it will be Spring 2022 before the pool does.