£20million Sunderland Aquatic Centre pool to close for up to nine months for repairs to leaking roof

Sunderland's landmark swimming pool will close next year for repairs, its bosses have revealed.

By Fiona Thompson
Wednesday, 13 March, 2019, 14:35
The pool at Sunderland Aquatic Centre could be shut for up to nine months while the roof is repaired.

Sunderland City Council has today said the planned closure of leisure complex will now go ahead in 2020 to "allow significant renewal works to be carried out to the roof of the pool area."

The council said it had originally been hoped that work could start on the £20million site towards the end of last year.

The leisure centre is part of Stadium Park.

But following further discussions between the council and Balfour Beatty, which built the centre and will be carrying out the repair works, the centre’s six to nine month closure has now been rescheduled for spring/summer 2020.

An out of court settlement was agreed between the council and the building firm after months of discussions last year.

The leaks had been reported above the area of the pool, with buckets laid out around the spectator area to catch drips.

The council has said "significant renewal works" are needed to the roof.

The council has previously said there were also leaks elsewhere on the Stadium Park site, including the gym, plant room and the exercise studios overlooking the Olympic-sized pool.

Deputy cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, said: “We had initially hoped that it would be possible for a start to be made on site towards the end of last year. “But after further discussions with Balfour Beatty around the detailed programme and taking into account this year’s events planned for the centre, including this summer’s World Transplant Games, we believe it’s in the best interests of the customers and groups who use Sunderland Aquatic Centre that this work begins in 2020. “This is a substantial and complex programme of renewal works.

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"Given the time required for the preparation works, starting on site any earlier could result in the work overrunning into the winter of 2019, with the higher risk for severe weather to disrupt progress on site. “Rescheduling the on-site work to 2020 not only gives certainty to Aquatic Centre users for this year but means that the work can be carried out over the spring and summer months when the weather is likely to be at its best.”

Construction work under way at the centre, which opened in January 2009.

Although the pool itself will be closed for the duration of the works, and the exercise studios will need to close for short periods within the closure period, other parts of the centre including the gym, soft play, café reception and foyer will remain open for use as normal during the repairs.More detail on specific dates for the work starting will be announced nearer the time.

The council has said users are being asked to continue using the facility as normal in the meantime.

The World Transplant Games is set to run across Newcastle and Gateshead from Auguest 17 to 24, with swimming events to be staged at the Sunderland centre.

The centre pictured while it was under construction.

Separately, galas will be held at the centre on the following dates, which means all pools will be closed to the public and diving and swimming lessons will not take place:

* Friday, March 22, with the pool to close to the public from 2pm* Saturday, March 23* Sunday, March 24.