Calderdale Council’s new leisure centre, which will be built on the site of the existing one at North Bridge, Halifax, will include a new swimming pool to replace the old Halifax Swimming Pool at Skircoat Road, closed at the onset of the pandemic and which will not re-open as the authority says it is uneconomic to make the necessary repairs.
However, Halifax Synchronised Swimming Club, which used the facility, have campaigned for the design to be redone as the new pool’s proposed dimensions will not be deep enough for them to use it.
If the designs remain unaltered it will force the club, which are national champions at two levels, out of the borough, they say, and protested outside Halifax Town Hall when the full council met in September.
Councillors were told that increasing the depth would add £2 million costs which the council could not afford.
But last week’s news that the council has been awarded £12.2 million for the project in the first round of awards made by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund has seen the club and some councillors raise the prospect of revisiting the design.
Coun Jacob Cook (Con, Greetland and Stainland) asked Coun Swift that now Calderdale had been successfully awarded Levelling Up fund money for the new leisure centre, would the position be reconsidered?
“Will that be used to improve facilities and add deep water diving to them?
“The reason given was there wasn’t enough money there,” he said.
Leader of the Council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town), who has welcomed the Levelling Up money, said the council was waiting for the specific detail of the funding bid and what the conditions were, to progress design detail and delivery.
As soon as the council got confirmation of those it would be looking at what the implications might be in terms of what is deliverable in the timescale.
“Do bear in mind though the Levelling Up Fund does require us to get the project delivered within a particular timescale, but we will be looking at what’s feasible and making sure that the scheme that’s delivered with the money is the best possible,” he said.
Coun Swift was answering questions put by members of the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board, which was considering progress of Cabinet priorities in the six months since May’s local elections.