Opening date for new Yorkshire swimming pool delayed after 'underground void' discovered

A delayed opening date for Ripon’s new swimming pool and refurbished leisure centre has been revealed.

Ripon Swimming Baths

Harrogate Borough Council had aimed to open the new facility in November, but this has now been pushed back until 8 December. This is due to delays caused by Covid lockdowns and the discovery of an underground void at the site.

The council also said Ripon Spa Baths will close on November 7 for staff to be transferred across and trained up at the replacement facility.

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Councillor Stanley Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport at the council, said: “The addition of the new swimming pool is a major development for Ripon and the surrounding area and I’m delighted to announce that it will be officially opened this December.

“I hope swimmers will be excited by the new six-lane 25-metre pool. It is significantly bigger than the baths and will offer even more people the opportunity to go swimming.”

The underground void was discovered at the new swimming pool site in 2020, but only became public knowledge this May when a £110,000 investigation into how to fix the problem was launched.

The findings of the investigation have yet to be revealed, although the council previously said works at the site were continuing safely.

Construction company Willmott Dixon was awarded a £10.2m contract to build the new swimming pool and refurbish the leisure centre in 2019.

The works are being carried out as a replacement for the 116-year-old Ripon Spa Baths which was put up for sale by the council in a move which sparked concerns that the venue could lose its community use.

It also prompted Ripon City Council to successfully apply for the building to be nominated as an asset of community value.

This protected status means any sale has now been put on hold for six months to allow time for community bids to come forward.

Harrogate Borough Council has revealed it has an unnamed preferred bidder for the building, while the city council has also asked to be considered a potential bidder itself.