Sunderland Aquatic Centre closure ‘disgraceful’ as people learn of roof repair plans

Sunderland Aquatic Centre, which is due to undergo repairs to its roof.

Sunderland Aquatic Centre, which is due to undergo repairs to its roof.

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Frustration has been vented over plans to close Sunderland’s Aquatic Centre for up to nine months while its leaking roof is repaired.

The Stadium Park’s Olympic-sized pool will shut next year while work is carried out to the £20million building.

Legal action by Sunderland City Council is in its early stages in respect of the “substantial repairs” needed, which could take between six and nine months to complete.

Visitors have reported seeing buckets set up on the upper walkway of the pool to catch water, while condensation is also said to be causing a problem at the landmark building.

People with memberships for the centre, which is run by Everyone Active on behalf of the council, have asked whether they will get a discount, while others have called for more leisure facilities in the city.

The council has said Aquatic Centre users will be able to use the pools at Hetton, Silksworth, Washington and the Raich Carter Centre in Hendon, as well as other Everyone Active facilities across the city while the pool is closed down.

It has also said efforts will also be made to accommodate learn to swim lessons and school swimming lessons at the city’s other pools.

It is not yet known where City of Sunderland Amateur Swimming Club, which trains Paralympian gold medalists Matt Wylie and Josef Craig, will train its members.

Many Echo readers have hit out at the situation and have called it “disgraceful” and a “joke.”

Among those to have their say through the Echo’s Facebook page was Georgia Fuller.

She said: “This is so sad.

“I worked there as a swimming teacher until last year.

“It’s an excellent facility with the pool and the diving pool. I don’t think some people realise that it’s a luxury to have a pool with high diving boards, diving blocks and two pools with moveable floors.”

She added: “Take a look at the school pools in the area for comparison of facilities.

“For the life of me I cannot understand why everyone is so negative about this place.

“I feel so sorry for the children who may have their learn to swim delayed, because it’s such an important skill, so here’s hoping the nine months goes quickly and the pools can reopen and stay open.”

Michelle Defty added: “I take my little girl swimming here for lessons and yes it is busy.

“But people are paying for their children to learn a lifesaving thing, so it does get used.

“If you want your kids to play these’s a swimming pool in Washington with slides and a leisure pool or one in South Shields.”