Durham County Council has announced its plans to deal with historic repair issues that have led to the temporary closure of Consett Pool for safety reasons.
Consett Pool opened in 2015, following the development of a new academy and leisure centre which, also included the relocation of the town’s football club and the refurbishment of the rugby club. Until 2018 the centre was managed by a third-party leisure trust.
Durham County Council took over the management of Consett Leisure Centre in 2018 and became aware of a number of significant defects, in particular regarding the pool area.
The situation was further complicated because the original construction contractor Carillion, which would be responsible for rectifying the issues, had gone out of business.
However since 2018, the council has continued to make repairs and, with safety a priority, it was necessary for the pool facility in the centre to remain closed after the easing of the first coronavirus lockdown for a more extensive review of the issues that were causing the ongoing defects.
This included a detailed technical assessment of the works required to repair the pool area. The council has completed this assessment and developed a scheme to deliver the works required to rectify the defects.
Due to the extensive nature of the defects caused by the contractor, the works are expected to take up to 12 months and will need to be delivered by a specialist contractor.
The council remains committed to ensuring the local community and pool users are kept updated on progress and, wherever possible, alternative arrangements for pool users made.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet Member for economic regeneration, said: “As with many local authorities across the county we are extremely disappointed and frustrated about the situation caused by historic contractor issues. Consett Leisure Centre was procured under the Building Schools for the future (BSF) programme with the adjoining academy school. The procuring body for BSF was the Local Education Partnership and, under the rules at the time, the council was required to use the partnership’s private sector contractor, Carillion.
“Safety is our absolute priority and, although we will progress a solution as soon as we can, the pool area will regrettably remain closed until the works are complete.
“We are also considering our legal position.”
Whilst works take place, the rest of the leisure centre will remain open and arrangements are being put in place to try and minimise the impact on site users as much as possible, including the provision of additional fitness classes. Pool users will be accommodated at other centres.
Cllr Marshall added: “We remain committed to the provision of first-class, accessible leisure facilities across the county to encourage physical activity that will help people live long and independent lives.
“We have ambitious plans to invest in, and transform, our leisure services as we regenerate our local economy, so our communities are able to access the services they rightly deserve.”