Knaresborough Pool to reopen next month after more than a year closed
Knaresborough Pool is to reopen next month after more than a year of closures caused by coronavirus lockdowns and broken equipment.
Harrogate Borough Council has today announced the pool will welcome back swimmers before the start of the school summer holidays on 26 July, but the authority said it could not yet give an exact date.
The pool closed when the first national lockdown came into force in March 2020 and has stayed shut since because of broken filters which the council previously said could only be fixed by Spanish manufacturers unable to travel due to Covid restrictions.
It has now announced a UK-based firm has installed new filters ready for the reopening next month, although the cost of the equipment is not yet known.
Councillor Stanley Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport at the council, said it was "fantastic news" that the pool was now getting ready to reopen.
He said: "We were hopeful that travel would be relaxed so that the specialist Spanish contractor could carry out the work on the existing filters. But given the continued travel restrictions, we felt now was the right time to make the decision to invest in new filters to ensure we can open the pool as soon as possible.
"I know local parents and children are keen to jump back in the pool, and thanks to the hard work and investment from the borough council, they’ll be able to do so in the coming weeks."
Ripon Spa Baths, Nidderdale Pool and The Hydro have already reopened, but Starbeck Baths is still shut and it remains unclear when the venue will make a return.
Councillor Lumley previously said he hoped it would reopen shortly after Ripon Spa Baths on 14 May but issues around staffing and social distancing mean it must remain closed.
The reopening of Knaresborough Pool comes as the council is pushing ahead with plans to demolish the venue and replace it with a new leisure centre complete with a new 25-metre pool, a 66-station gym and two studio spaces.
If plans are approved, the new facility will be built behind the existing swimming pool site on Fysche Field and could be completed by the end of 2023.
There has, however, been some opposition from campaigners and residents who have raised concerns over a council-run consultation and the loss of green space.
Shan Oakes, Harrogate and District Green Party coordinator and former parliamentary candidate, previously said it would be "unforgivable" to build on Fysche Field, while a residents' group described a consultation which found just over 80% of 471 respondents were in support of the plans as "clandestine, underhand and wholly undemocratic".
Other sites previously considered for the new leisure centre included the council-owned Knaresborough House, Hay-a-Park, Conyngham Hall and a private plot of land at Halfpenny Lane.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter