Sunderland Aquatic Centre users no nearer finding when it will close for repairs

The main pool and diving pool at Sunderland Aquatic Centre.
The main pool and diving pool at Sunderland Aquatic Centre.

Questions remain as to when repairs to Sunderland’s Aquatic Centre, costing an estimated £4.3million, will be carried out.

Sunderland City Council set aside cash over a three-year period to cover the cost for remedial work to a leaking roof at the £20million complex.

Following an out-of-court settlement, it has said the cost will now be met by Balfour Beatty, the company which built the pool, gym and fitness studios on the Stadium Park site just a decade ago.

However, there is still doubt over when repairs will begin, with rumours circulating it will not start until 2020.

The authority had said work was scheduled for later this year, with council leader Graeme Miller telling Conservative members in a memo last month repairs would start in the autumn.

But with centre operator Everyone Active stating there would be three months’ notice issued and no advance warning yet given, the imminent launch of the repairs looks unlikely.

When asked for an update, the council said: “Discussions are ongoing around timescales and we are looking to make an announcement in the near future.”

Figures show it allocated a total of £4.233,000 to cover the cost of the roof repairs from its public health and wellness capital programme.

Today, cabinet secretary Councillor Paul Stewart said: “As previously explained, there will be no cost to the council for the works to the Aquatic Centre as we have reached an agreement with Balfour Beatty whereby they will carry out a programme of works in order to renew elements of the facility, including the roof.”

The venue, which has been using buckets to catch drips from the roof, is due to host swimming events at the World Transplant Games next August, when Newcastle and Gateshead are holding the competition.

The roof problems have also spread to other areas, with a previous time frame of between six and nine months given for the work alongside a pledge to keep areas such as the gym open while builders graft.

However, they have said it would not be feasible to keep the pool open to swimmers and spectators.

Steve Dougal, Everyone Active’s general manager of the centre, said: “We are liaising with Sunderland City Council to get an update on future plans for the Sunderland Aquatic Centre.”

The Echo contacted Balfour Beatty for comment.