Works on Harrogate Hydro renovation and new Knaresborough leisure centre to start in April

Two major projects to renovate Harrogate Hydro and build a new leisure centre in Knaresborough will get underway in April.

By Jacob Webster
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:40 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:54 am
A computer-generated image of how the Hydro will look once the £11.8 million redevelopment project is completed.

Harrogate Borough Council is behind the plans which will cost around £28 million and see the construction works carried out by Bristol-based firm Alliance Leisure.

The Hydro will get an £11.8 million investment, including a two-storey extension of the building, as well as a new entrance, cafe and reception area.

There will also be a new diving board structure, fitness suite and refurbished changing areas.

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The venue will close on 8 April and the project will be phased to allow for the pool hall area to be brought back into use "as soon as possible in early 2023," the council said.

It also said it anticipated all of the works will be completed by April 2023.

Meanwhile, some grounds works are already underway at Fysche Field in Knaresborough where a new £17 million leisure centre complete with a six-lane pool, health spa and fitness studios will be built as a replacement for the existing Knaresborough Pool.

It will be built behind the existing pool which will remain open during the works before being demolished.

The council said the new leisure centre will take 65 weeks to build with completion in July 2023.

After this, the demolition works will take a further 15 weeks with completion in October 2023.

These proposals were approved last month despite concerns over the environmental impact of demolishing a large building to replace it with another.

However, Jonathan Dunk, chief development officer at the council, described the 30-year-old Knaresborough Pool as "at the end of its working life" and said more swimming space was needed for the town's growing population.

He previously said: "We need to renew rather than refurbish the existing facility because it is old and there is inadequate water space.

"We also want to upgrade to make the most of the energy performance of the new building."

In Ripon, the opening of the city's new multi-million pound swimming pool was finally celebrated on 2 March after months of costly delays.

The project was nine months overdue and £4 million over budget, and refurbishment works on the adjoining Ripon Leisure Centre are still underway after the discovery of an underground void prompted the need for an investigation.

The investigation by engineering firm Stantec was due to finish earlier this month and a report setting out what reinforcement works will be required will now follow.

Stantec previously suggested there had been a “significant deterioration” of the ground beneath the older half of the leisure centre and that strengthening works could include steelworks, thickened floors and grouting - the same method “successfully” used to stabilise the new pool.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter