Peterborough could be left without an indoor public swimming pool unless up to £15million can be found for repairs and improvements. CambsNews understands that a new survey report for Peterborough City Council – who run the pool – has estimated it will at least £10million and maybe even £15million to re-open the regional pool in Bishop’s Road which closed in August after the discovery of RACC.
In a video interview with CambsNews, Cllr Dennis Jones, Labour group leader on the city council, says: “I am stood outside Peterborough city regional pool that is no longer fit for purpose
“It was built over 50 years ago and through years of under investment, now needs upwards of £10million to £15million spending on it to keep it open”
He says: It’s not RACC, not just Legionella but years of under investment by the Conservative administration.”
Cllr Jones adds “Peterborough is faced with having no indoor pool within the city in a city that now needs not one, not two but three pools for the size of population.
“This is the dilemma we are faced with and the Labour group here in Peterborough has mentioned, and has talked about under investment going back over many years
“So, the pool will close, and we will be faced with nothing in this city to replace it.”
An update on the pool was provided in a report to group leaders at Peterborough City Council last night (Monday).
😱 How the flippin’ frying pan can a city with over 200,000 people not have a municipal swimming pool?!?!? The legacy of all those years of central govt austerity and cathedral city council mismanagement?!? https://t.co/S7AsFiSP5S
— Antony Carpen (@ACarpenDigital) December 5, 2023
I understand the survey report will be released in the coming days and will show the cost of neglect to the pool and possible options for the council.
Labour have been quick to condemn the neglect which could leave the city without a public indoor pool.
Peterborough Labour Party has already launched a SOS Swimming Pool campaign to show public support behind investing in a public pool in the city.
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Peterborough, said: “After decades of neglect by the previous Conservative council it is now clear that it will cost upwards of £10 million to fix the problems with the regional pool.
“The scale of neglect facing the pool doesn’t come about overnight and is not just to do with RAAC. Despite the promises we have had years of underinvestment in the pool.
“We now face the prospect of the regional pool closing for good. We need urgent action to get the funds for a world-class public pool in Peterborough.”
Cllr Jones added: “We have been warning for months, if not years, about ongoing maintenance issues at the pool from Legionella to asbestos to RAAC.
“The warning signs were there but the previous administration refused to face up to the challenges facing our ageing infrastructure, not just on the pool.”
Labour has launched a SOS Swimming Pool petition at www.tinyurl.com/SOSSwimmingPool
The survey findings will be a huge embarrassment to the Conservatives who have run the city council for the past two decades until a coup last month ousted Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald and a new leadership, under Cllr Mohammed Farooq of Peterborough First, took the reins.
Coincidentally the former deputy leader, Conservative Cllr Steve Allen, had earlier prepared his colleagues for bad news when he told the BBC in October that he was unsure “when or if” the regional pool would reopen.
He added: “As an alternative people can enjoy the Lido as we plan to keep it open as long as we can.”
The Lido is open for heated outdoor swimming until Sunday 10th December 2023
Earlier this year Legionella was identified in the water system at the regional pool and then came the discovery of RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete).
A notice on the regional pool website says “TEMPORARILY CLOSED – Peterborough City Council have been carrying out surveys of their buildings which fit the criteria for RAAC.
“Regrettably, we have been informed that RAAC has been identified in the regional fitness & swimming centre.
“Structural surveys which will determine the overall condition and integrity of the RAAC in the regional pool are now being completed.
“This will identify remedial works required and any interim safety measures which need to be put in place.
“Until we receive further advice from Peterborough City Council, the building will remain closed.
“Our primary concern as always remains the safety of our staff and customers.”