Torridge Pool set to reopen but Torrington and Holsworthy stay closed

Torridge Pool at Northam, which is set to reopen following funding agreed by councillors. Picture: T

Torridge Pool at Northam, which is set to reopen following funding agreed by councillors. Picture: TDC - Credit: Archant

Torridge Pool at Northam is set to reopen after funding support for its operator was agreed – but Torrington and Holsworthy pools will remain closed.

Torridge District Council on Monday, November 30 night agreed to the funding request from operator 1610 that would enable the reopening of Northam, albeit at a reduced capacity and with other restrictions.

The funding will go towards the costs of recommissioning the Northam facility to open, which includes extra Covid-19 measures such as screens, sanitiser stations and signage.

It also includes contributions towards the costs 1610 incurred since the closure of all facilities from March 2020 and to support it for the period up until March 2021.

But a decision on whether to reopen Torrington Pool, as well as Holsworthy Leisure Centre, were deferred to enable further discussions to take place and for the full extent of costs to be reported back.

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Torrington’s pool is temporarily inoperable due to the discovery of asbestos during recent roofing works.

The works to remove the asbestos and complete the repairs are underway and forecast to be completed in the new year.

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Holsworthy Leisure Centre had remained closed since March and 1610 had stipulated that it is not possible to operate safely under Covid-19 regulations, but council officers are working with 1610 to explore possibilities and options for reopening facilities at Holsworthy.

Steve Hearse, the council’s chief executive, told Monday’s meeting they had identified changes that could be made in order for it to meet Covid regulations.

Mr Hearse said they would be discussing the options and costs of the changes, but there would be an additional cost of around £20,000 per month to operate.

Councillor Jon Hutchings said there were many people pleading for Holsworthy to reopen across all age ranges, and that there was a great need for it, while Cllr David Jones added: “It is absolutely imperative that we get this open again. This facility needs to remain there and be open once more.”

Cllr Anna Dart added: “I have to pass on the expressions of dismay that I received when I told my parishes that the pool wouldn’t be reopening. Some residents expressed there is a genuine need for the pool and they want it open as soon as possible.”

After a private session to discuss confidential financial arrangements, councillors returned to a public session where a motion to agree the finances required for the reopening of Northam but to defer a decision on Torrington, as well as Holsworthy, was put forward and approved by 24 votes to 13.

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