A brand-new swimming centre will be built in Whitchurch after Shropshire Council’s Cabinet backed plans to replace the current facility.
Six options were put before the Cabinet earlier today, with councillors backing the option to build a brand new swimming centre, which will also feature a six lane 25m pool with a movable floor, a 35-station fitness suite, a dance studio and a café with 20 covers.
The development, which will happen on the same site as the current swimming centre which has been closed since March 2020, could also house the town’s library within the development. The move will be considered in more detail as part of any additional feasibility study agreed for the site.
Councillors heard that a new centre would be the most viable and cost-effective way to replace the current centre, which has not been able to re-open since the Coronavirus pandemic began. This is due to a lack of social-distancing provision and a leak which has been discovered at the centre.
Councillor Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place, tourism and transport, said:
“This is really fantastic news for Whitchurch and I am pleased cabinet decided to back the option to build a new centre – it will hopefully be a wonderful facility for the town and very much a focal point.
“This will be hugely beneficial and will encourage increased participation in physical activity and deliver increased health benefits to more people.
“Everyone has been very disappointed that the current centre has been unable to reopen, but this is a situation that is not going to change, even with the relaxation of social distancing measures.
“The current pool is not in good condition, but a new facility could be a massive benefit to all.”
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet was told that the new build will also provide a facility with a life expectancy of up to 50 years, as opposed to the maintenance of the existing facility which will have only limited impact on extending the serviceable life of the centre.
The recommendation will now be delegated to the executive director of place to begin a feasibility study and carry out due diligence.
Since the pool’s closure in March 2020, investigations to identify the cause of an ongoing leak at the facility and the practicalities of carrying out repair works show that that the swimming pool defects are such that it will not be able to reopen when national social distancing restrictions are due to be relaxed on Monday, 19 July 2021.
If co-locating the library emerges as part of the preferred option, a specific public consultation on this will be required.