New swimming pool in Kettering would cause ‘significant strain’ on finances

editorial image

Councillors set to discuss the viability of building a new swimming pool in Kettering have been warned that it would cause a significant strain on finances.

Kettering Council agreed to investigate the possibility of building a new pool in December after concerns that the town was being left behind following new pools in Corby, Wellingborough and Thrapston.

Councillors will discuss next Tuesday (April 4) whether to carry out a feasibility study.

But a report prepared for them by council officers says a 25m six-lane pool could cost £5m to build and £600,000 a year to run, and would lead to cuts elsewhere.

The report says: “For the council to embark upon the cost of a feasibility study, there has to be a reasonable expectation that it will then want to embark upon the capital and revenue cost of providing a few pool, particularly as the initial feasibility and then the ongoing professional fees associated with a new build are likely to amount to five per cent of the overall build costs.

“Given the overall financial situation facing the authority for the foreseeable future, neither the revenue cost nor the capital cost can be accommodated without significant strain or corresponding service reductions elsewhere.

“There are also wider questions, if the pool is reprovided elsewhere in the borough, about land acquisition, the impact of its loss on the town centre, access and pricing.”

The report also expressed concerns about the limited potential income due to capacity.

The existing pool was built in 1985 and was last refurbished in 2002 at a cost of about £250,000.

The works carried out included refurbishment of the pool hall and the changing facilities.

But despite suggesting a new pool would simply be too expensive, the report goes on to say that the current pool is in need of investments of about £500,000.

The report added: “It is accepted that the pool, given its age, needs some investment.

“An investment of around £500,000 would significantly improve the facilities at the pool and make the facility more inviting.”

In December Mike Annable from Kettering Amateur Swimming Club told Kettering Council the current pool isn’t fit for purpose.

He said: “Swimming is England’s most popular sport by participation.

“There is a high amount of people travelling outside of the borough to swim.

“The facilities here are poor.

“Kettering Amateur Swimming Club has 200 members and believes that a new swimming pool can increase participation in swimming in the borough.”

Councillors will decide what steps, if any, they wish to recommend to the executive committee.

The meeting takes pace at 7pm on April 4 in the Lahnstein Room at the Municipal Offices.