SHROPSHIRE Council has launched a public consultation into plans for a new £12.1 million swimming pool and leisure centre in Whitchurch.

The eight-week long consultation on the proposals to replace the old swimming pool, which has been closed since March 2020, with a new pool, rooms, gym and a cafe will start on Monday, June 6.

The site was never reopened following investigations into an ongoing leak and Shropshire Council were told in 2021 a new centre would be the most viable and cost effective way to maintain swimming and fitness facilities in the town.

Cllr Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport said the neacility would be a benefit.

She added: "A key priority for Shropshire Council is to improve health and wellbeing at all stages of life, and increasing participation in physical activity across the community is crucial to this.

"Everyone has been very disappointed that the centre at Whitchurch has been unable to reopen, and this is a situation that is not going to change as the building is not structurally sound.

"A new facility would be a massive benefit to all and is something Shropshire Council is committed to delivering."

The consultation will run for eight weeks until July 31.

In an update in April, the council confirmed that it hoped to have a new pool open to the public by 2025, and that Whitchurch had moved ahead of Shrewsbury's Quarry Fitness Centre in the queue for new swimming facilities.

Initially estimated to cost closer to £7 million, the cost has now risen to £12 million.

The plans, which will now be part of the consultation, would see the construction of a brand new swimming centre featuring a six-lane 25m pool with a movable floor, a 35-station fitness suite, multi-function rooms and a café with 20 covers.

At a meeting in April, Whitchurch Town Council voted to offer its support to the plans.

The town's pool was closed during the first coronavirus lockdown, and did not reopen after structural issues were found in the pool itself that were deemed to be too costly to repair.

Concerns have been raised over access to swimming facilities for Whitchurch residents since then, with calls made for a free bus service to take users to Wem to swim.