Barnstaple swimming pools to shut for refurbishment

North Devon Leisure Centre repairs begin on October 31, but rest of facility will remain open.

THE swimming pools at North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple will be closed for several months from Monday, October 31 as work gets underway on a �1 million refurbishment of the building.

The rest of the centre at Seven Brethren Bank will remain open throughout work, which owner North Devon Council expects to be finished by April. The centre is operated by Parkwood Leisure.

A structural survey of the 40 year old building in 2009 revealed a number of improvements needed to be made to ensure it remained safe.

The imminent work includes repairs to the roof, the steel and concrete frame of the building, cleaning and repainting the pool tank interiors and full refurbishment of the wet side changing rooms. The council has also secured �22,000 from the Amateur Swimming Association for spectator seating and a disabled hoist.

“Although the learner and main pools will be closed, the rest of the leisure centre is still open for business and visitors should experience little, if any disruption,” said the council’s executive member for culture Councillor Derrick Spear.

“Although closing the pools is an inconvenience to the people who use them, these works are essential. If we don’t make urgent repairs now, the building may require more substantial repairs in the future, which could force the centre to close completely.”

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Original �12.5 million plans to demolish the facility and build a brand new one beside the Tarka Tennis Centre were shelved in 2009. The council set aside �5 million for refurbishment but this was reduced to �1 million due to the tough economic climate.

Alternative pools are available for swimmers at Ilfracombe and Torridge Pool in Northam. For more details, contact Parkwood Leisure on (01271) 373361.

The Barnstaple refurbishment can be followed via a blog at www.northdevon.gov.uk/sports.

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