Sheffield's Ponds Forge lost around 11,000 visits this summer due to leisure pool closure

Sheffield City Trust lost 11,000 visits this summer after closing the leisure pool at Ponds Forge due to maintenance problems.

Ponds Forge in Sheffield
Ponds Forge in Sheffield

The Trust – which runs several of the city’s biggest venues – closed the leisure pool just before the school holiday after discovering problems with the flumes caused during lockdown.

SCT said the pool is not expected to reopen until January 2022.

It said work to fix the problems was “progressing well” and while it is closed, the Trust is bringing forward a programme of other planned work including a new disability-friendly zone and baby swimming area, a more powerful wave experience and refurbishment of the toddler zone and lazy river area.

The maintenance work and upgrades are estimated to cost around £500,000 in total and will be funded through existing maintenance budgets made available by Sheffield Council – the Trust’s main funder.

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, criticised the Trust for failing to fix the problems before its busiest period.

During a full council meeting yesterday, he quizzed Coun Terry Fox, leader of the council, on the issues.

Coun Fox confirmed the authority was consulted about the closure and it has kept in regular communication with SCT since.

SCT answered other questions about the number of complaints received and loss in visitors.

It said Ponds Forge was expected to have seen around 13,000 visits over the summer period and 2,000 of these were transferred to Hillsborough Leisure Centre so overall, the Trust estimated a loss of 11,000 visits as a result of Ponds Forge leisure pool being closed.

Hillsborough’s pool is running at around 98 per cent capacity, which is likely higher due to customers transferring from Ponds Forge.

The council said it had not received any complaints about the situation but SCT said its Contact Centre had eight complaints regarding the leisure pool closure and three complaints about the enforced transfer of swimming lessons to alternative venues.

It was also revealed that the most recent full survey of Ponds Forge was four years ago and a condition survey was last undertaken in 2019 to inform maintenance work.

Prior to reopening, “visual surveys” from the ground were carried out before reopening which is when the problems with the flumes were spotted.