CENTRAL swimming pool closes its doors to the public this month.
The ageing facility will shut from January 31st this year, with the ambition to replace it in the future with a modern new swimming pool.
The closure comes as the new demountable pool at Rivermead opened to the public this week. The 25 metre, 5 lane pool provides continuity of swimming for central Reading whilst the permanent replacement for Central Pool is built. View photos of the new pool here:
Regular Central pool swimmers are able to transfer their Reading Sport and Leisure membership to GLL membership up to 31st March 2018. This will allow them to use facilities at Rivermead at the same price they are currently paying.
The revamped pool at South Reading Leisure Centre will also reopen the end of this month following a refurbishment.
Government funding for Reading Borough Council will have been cut from nearly £58 million between 2010 and 2020, leaving the Council with a Government grant of under £2 million. That grant may be removed entirely by 2020 and there remains little clarity on how Government will fund local authorities beyond that point.
The facilities at Central are dated and expensive to run and the pool has been forced to shut a number of times for essential works.
At a time of severe budget constraints, the Council can no longer afford to invest in outdated facilities which would only remain operational for a limited period of time. Instead the Council is proposing to invest money in modern new swimming facilities.
The next steps will be a procurement process to appoint a demolition company to dismantle the building and clear the site as future options are considered.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said: “Central pool has been well used over the years. Countless Reading children have learned to swim there and many swimming clubs have called it home. However, unprecedented Government cuts means we are not in a position to invest money in ageing facilities with a limited lifespan.
“Instead the plan is to reinvest money in new facilities. People rightly expect modern and good quality sports facilities. In terms of value for money and the provision of modern sports facilities for residents, that has to be the much better option.
“A great deal of hard work and planning has gone into transferring both public swimming times and club swim timetables across to the new pool at Rivermead. The Council has worked closely with local swimming groups to accommodate their needs as far as possible at the new pool and at other facilities across Reading. Under the circumstances we believe we have come up with a plan that works well and that swimming pool users are happy with.”
For information on Reading Sport & Leisure swim programmes and lessons visit: www.readingleisure.co.uk/swimming