After many months of planning, work has started today, Monday 14th March, on the refurbishment of the existing pool at Penketh Pool & Community Centre, owned by Penketh Parish Council.
The pool closed in March 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It had been previously identified that there were several cracks/leaks in the pool walls and pipe infrastructure, and a failure of the filtration system. The pool was drained whilst investigative works were completed, which further highlighted several issues and defects relating to the pool and the associated plant and plumbing equipment. As such, the pool has remained closed.
Penketh Parish Council have been working on a project to understand these issues and appoint an appropriate contractor to carry out remedial works, which was agreed at the last full council meeting in February. The appointed contractor has also completed similar work at other facilities in neighbouring boroughs and following site visits and meetings with other centres – the Council agreed that this work was completed to a high standard.
The anticipated cost of this first phase of refurbishment work (circa £80,000 including VAT & contingency) is being wholly funded by the existing 2021/22 Council budget. This has been enabled by a number of cost efficiencies made by the Council following the May 2021 election.
The refurbishment of the existing pool is also being complemented by an overall review of the business operating model. A new business plan and strategy has been devised (in draft format) by the Council’s Business Management Committee, which aims to streamline and improve the viability of the Pool and Community Centre and reduce the dependency on the local precept. Historically, the business of the pool was supported by around £120,000 a year from the main Council budget
Councillor Kieran Layfield, Chair of the Business Management Committee said: “It’s great that after many months of hard work to get to this point, building works are commencing on the pool. After seeing first-hand the work that our appointed contractor has completed at other local centres, I’m really looking forward to seeing these works come to fruition over the coming weeks.”
The Council have also conducted an optioneering study on different approaches to take with the overall centre, including the entrance and the changing rooms. Various options have been identified and subsequently costed. Once the remedial works to the pool have been completed, the Council will move into this next phase – and a public consultation process will be completed before any final decision is made.
Councillor Dale Solan-Cooper, Chair of the Council, said: “I’m thrilled that works are starting at the pool. Whilst working from the centre over the past months, I’ve spoken to many passing residents who have asked when they are going to be able to come back for a swim. The pool is a fantastic asset for the people of Penketh – it provides vital swimming education to our local young people and serves as a leisure activity for the wider community. I’m really excited to finally be able to welcome back our previous service user groups and customers over the coming months. Whilst this milestone is hugely significant, I’m also looking forward to speaking with residents about further opportunities to enhance the offering of the Pool & Community centre, which we’ll deliver through public consultation led by our Business Management and Marketing & Communications committees. I really encourage the local community to get behind us as the centre reopens and help us to rebuild your asset.”
The remedial works at the pool are planned to take around 8 weeks to be completed, and further updates regarding the progress and reopening of the pool will be provided as the project moves forward via our website and social media channels. In addition, members of the public are welcome to attend any Council meetings or watch from home on the live stream.
If anyone has any questions or comments, these can be sent to the Clerk to the Council via email to firstname.lastname@example.org