Joint statement from Newark and Sherwood District Council and Active4Today regarding the main swimming pool at Southwell Leisure Centre

Posted on: Thursday, November 23, 2023

On 29 October 2023, the main pool at Southwell Leisure Centre was closed to enable investigations to be undertaken into the cause of water loss from the pool.

These investigations included monitoring the drop in water level over a 14-day period, the use of CCTV inspection of the inside of the pipes, and scuba divers to undertake a detailed assessment of the pool’s structure. 

We have now received the results of all of these investigations which show that whilst the structure of the pool is sound, the original pipework, installed in 1965, is very heavily corroded, to such an extent that, during the 14-day period, the water level in the pool dropped by the equivalent of 114,478 litres or 25,181 gallons. This has confirmed to us that there is significant leakage that needs addressing. 

There is a high probability that the leak will get worse, resulting in a greater loss of water and possible damage to other parts of the leisure centre. For example, a greater volume of water leakage could result in flooding in the plant room where the electrical supply to the Leisure Centre is situated. 

Therefore, until further notice, the main swimming pool will remain closed. Right now, it would be unwise to provide a re-opening date until the extent of repairs, the costs of repairs and the timetable and schedule of works is known. It is also possible that a better option than repairing the pool would be to build a brand new one.

Councillor Paul Peacock, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council said: “We’re all extremely frustrated, if not totally surprised, by the results of the pool investigations. The pool has served the community well since it was built in 1965, but it’s showing signs of its age. We can’t re-open a pool that is leaking lots of water. It would be irresponsible to do so. We’ll now price up the options for repairing the pool and crack on with this as fast as possible. If it turns out that it’s too expensive to repair the pool, we’ll look into the options of providing a new one instead. A further update will be provided before Christmas. The bottom line is that the Council took over an old leisure centre two years ago to prevent it from closing and we’re having to work our way through a large number of repair items that need fixing. We’re committed to the ongoing provision of leisure centre services in Southwell, as demonstrated by the works that we are going to carry out to the dry side facilities so I’d ask everyone to bear with us while we put things right."

Councillor Andy Freeman, Chair of Active4Today said: “We’re all extremely disappointed that we can’t re-open the pool but I’m sure people will understand that we can’t have people swimming in a pool that is leaking water. 

While it’s frustrating that we find ourselves in this situation, I have to keep reminding myself that the building is almost 60 years old, and it has served our community well so far.  While the main pool remains closed, all other facilities at the centre remain open. We’ll continue to keep everyone updated.”