A new state-of-the-art leisure centre is expected to open in Whitchurch in 2025, replacing the town’s run-down pool which has now been closed for two years.

Shropshire Council says it hopes to have contractors on-site by autumn 2023 to construct the new leisure facility, which could to cost up to £12.1 million, and could include a gym, café, studio, and potentially a dedicated space to co-locate the town’s library.

The timescale and updated cost estimate – which has increased by £4.5 million since the council agreed to press ahead with the scheme last summer – were revealed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Wednesday.

In a question to cabinet, the three Whitchurch councillors Tom Biggins, Peggy Mullock and Gerald Dakin, said: “As Whitchurch members we have really appreciated the commitment by the portfolio holder and indeed the whole of cabinet to providing a new leisure facility for Whitchurch, despite these difficult financial times.

“We have also appreciated being involved in the overall process and are very much looking forward to the next stage.

Whitchurch Herald: Whitchurch's current swimming centre.Whitchurch's current swimming centre.

“Can the portfolio holder confirm the date of the cabinet meeting when the report on a new Whitchurch swimming pool comes up for decision and if that decision is positive, and everyone in Whitchurch are keeping their fingers crossed that it will be, when can the public have their say and what would be the likely timescale for the pool’s completion?”

Councillor Cecilia Motley, cabinet member for leisure, said securing future swimming provision for the town was “a priority” for the council.

The pool closed at the start of the pandemic and was not able to reopen as restrictions eased as it was not possible to implement Covid safety measures due to the restricted layout.


Further complications arose when a leak was identified in the pool, and the building was ultimately condemned.

Councillor Motley said: “It was unfortunate that the old facility had to close but this decision was taken in light of the findings of an independent structural engineer who advised the council that repairs were not a viable option.

“A new swimming and fitness centre will require significant capital investment from the council and therefore a feasibility study was commissioned to a firm of design specialists to provide us with the evidence and insight on which to base our decision on the provision of a new facility.

“We have moved the feasibility study at pace to aid our decision making.”

Councillor Motley said the current cost estimate for the re-build was between £11.5m and £12.1m, depending on whether a moveable floor to half the pool is included, and that the updated costings take account of price increases currently being seen in the construction industry.

“We are currently undertaking an initial key stakeholder engagement exercise to input into the feasibility stage,” she said.

“Cabinet will be considering the feasibility study at a meeting in the near future to agree the next steps for the provision of a new facility and, subject to cabinet agreement a formal public consultation exercise will follow.”

Subject to cabinet and full council approval and a successful planning application, work is expected to start on-site next autumn with the new centre to open its doors in the summer of 2025.

Councillor Motley added: “I do understand Whitchurch residents’ frustration at the pool being closed but we do need to ensure that the new facility proposals are sustainable both in terms of the financial position and our climate change agenda.”