WHITCHURCH Swimming Centre will not reopen in July, and may never reopen, after Shropshire Council announced a report will be presented to Shropshire Council’s Cabinet highlighting options for swimming provision in the town.

Whitchurch Swimming Centre has been closed since March 2020 when it became apparent it was impossible to implement Covid-safe measures such as social distancing at the pool, originally built in 1972.

Council officers are set to consider all future options for the facility, taking into account the practicalities and potential costs of repair to enable the centre to reopen, as well as the costs of providing a new facility.

Councillor Cecilia Motley, Cabinet member for communities, place, tourism and transport, said the council is unable to commit to a timetable for reopening or replacing the centre until options have been discussed.

She added: “The pandemic has prevented the investigative work taking place as promptly as we would have liked which is extremely frustrating for us and users of the pool.”

Investigations to identify the cause of an on-going 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 19 July.

This conclusion follows receipt of an extensive and detailed condition survey which was commissioned earlier this year.

An additional structural engineer’s report also highlights the need for further extensive remedial works which are not considered cost effective due to inadequate foundations and the age of the building.

Peter Davis, Leisure Services Manager, admitted confirmation that the centre will not be able to reopen in July is disappointing.

He said: “We very much understand the frustrations for local swimmers, clubs and children who have missed their time in the water.

“We must however take a view on what is best for Whitchurch in the long term.

“The cost of repairs to reinstate the facility and keep it operating safely over the next five years are significant.

“This is on top of the increasing annual costs of operating such an old building.

“So, it is vital that Cabinet consider all options, including a replacement facility, to give best value for Whitchurch from any investment.

“Final plans for the centre will depend on the results of a needs assessment and feasibility work and will be subject to wider community consultation before any final decision.”