Update on the future of Keswick pool
Allerdale Borough Council has announced today (June 18, 2021) that Keswick pool will close permanently. The decision has been made in the light of recent investigations, which have shown that the cost of reopening the aged-pool would make it financially unviable.
The popular gym facility at Keswick Leisure Centre, which currently has around 400 users, will remain open and the council is keen to consult with local councillors, residents, businesses, partners and other stakeholders on future leisure provision for the town.
The pool at Keswick Leisure Centre is already over ten years beyond its anticipated lifespan. Maintenance work carried out during the pandemic, while the pool was closed, highlighted a series of age-related problems relating to tiling, drainage and filters. Concerns were also raised about the working order of the pool plant systems, given their age and the fact they have not been operational for over a year.
Remedial works to tackle the issues would be extremely costly and would only extend the pool’s operational lifespan by a short period. It is estimated that to reline the pool and repair drainage channels would cost between £150,000 and £200,000. Refilling the pool with water and reheating it after prolonged closure would alone cost £20k.
Prior to the enforced closure brought about by the pandemic, Keswick Leisure Centre was already operating at a loss of around £250k per year.
The pool had been closed throughout the pandemic due to its unique design, as a leisure pool. Meaning that implementing social distancing and safe one-way systems in and out of the building was difficult. During this period the pools at Workington and Cockermouth were able to operate, albeit it at reduced capacity.
Members of Keswick Leisure Centre will be able to use other pools in the area including Cockermouth, Workington and Penrith. GLL the charitable social enterprise that operates the pool on the council’s behalf under the Better brand, will be contacting members, schools and users with regards to alternative options.
Allerdale Borough Council is carrying out a review of leisure services across the borough as part of an options appraisal in view of the contract with GLL currently having an end date of March 2024. Throughout this process, Keswick residents, health services and businesses will be asked for their views.
Cllr Mike Johnson, Leader of the Council, said: “Keswick Leisure Centre has served us well over the years. However, despite all the maintenance that has been carried out, the pool is increasingly showing its age and it isn’t financially sustainable to run in the longer term – something the Covid pandemic has really brought into focus.
“Whilst I do apologise for any inconvenience caused to swimmers in the town, times and tastes have moved on, and we don’t want to throw good money quite literally down the plughole. That’s why we’re committed to making sure that the sports provision in Keswick – whatever that might be – is fit for the current and future needs of the town.”
Cllr Tony Markley, executive member with responsibility for leisure and tourism, said: “We’re committed to working with local councillors, residents and other stakeholders to invest into decent sporting facilities in Keswick. I’d also like to reassure all local residents that we’ll do what we can to continue to provide access to swimming facilities in our other pools, as well as keep the gym open.”