Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Blackbrook pool could open in two years
7:00am Sunday 19th August 2012 in News
A NEW swimming pool costing up to £5.5million could open in Taunton within two years.
The 25m, eight-lane facility with a learner pool, spa and cafe would be built at Blackbrook Pavilion sports centre.
The proposals, including the refurbishment of the Station Road pool, and closure and sale of the St James Street pool, were discussed by Taunton Deane Council’s corporate scrutiny committee last week.
If councillors give the go-ahead to develop a business case the executive could be asked in December for final approval for the project to start.
An officers’ report to today’s meeting says if everything goes to plan the facility could be up and running ‘by early summer, 2014’.
The life expectancy of the 84-year-old St James Street pool, which caters for 1,600 children a year, does not go beyond next year, while £1.2million must be spent on the 1970s Station Road pool due to ‘continuing serious deterioration of its fabric and plant’.
The project would be funded from council funds, borrowing, the sale of the St James site and grants, while running costs would be met by more people swimming, the spa and cafe, and reduced costs for staff, energy and maintenance.
The report says: “A swimming pool alone on the Blackbrook site would not generate enough revenue to service the proposed debt.
“The spa would be a high-quality facility offering beauty treatments and retailed products alongside an integrated hydro pool, steam, sauna, salt grotto, power showers and foot spas, treatment rooms and a reception/relaxation area.”
Council leader Cllr John Williams said: “This is bringing some certainty into what has been a very protracted project. We’ve tried to make sure we’re delivering the best solution.
“We’re very conscious that the St James Street Pool is past its sell-by date – it recently suffered a serious failure and was closed for some time, costing a lot of money to put right.”