Harrogate leisure chief defends Ripon pool location amid ground stability concern
Last updated Dec 16, 2022
Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre
Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre

A senior Harrogate councillor has defended building a new swimming pool in Ripon on the Dallamires Lane site in the city amid concerns over ground stability.

The Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre, which includes the new pool, opened in January this year.

However, ground stabilisation works, which are set to cost Harrogate Borough Council £3.5 million, have delayed plans to open the gym and exercise studio on the site.

The work comes after underground voids were discovered beneath the older half of the site which was built in 1995.

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, Cllr Pauline McHardy, who represents Ripon minister ward, asked Cllr Stan Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, whether he felt the pool should have been built elsewhere.

She said:

“When this council moves and we go under a unitary, we’re left with a swimming pool that is not stable and could be gone tomorrow.

“My question to you is don’t you think that, instead of spending all this money trying to bodge it up, it would have been find another site and built a completely new one that was suitable for Ripon and its future?”

Cllr Stan Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport at Harrogate Borough Council.

Cllr Stan Lumley, cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport at Harrogate Borough Council.

However, Cllr Lumley defended the decision to built the pool on the Dallamires Lane site and said the pool was “state of the art” and “way better” than the previous facility.

Cllr Lumley said:

“We decided to build there because it makes absolute sense to have the wet side and the dry side together under one roof, under one management and under one set of staff.

“That’s been proven at other sites around the district and that’s the model that we chose to go forward with as a council.”

He added that he could not agree with “accusations” over instability at the facility.

Temporary gym delayed

Stabilisation works at the site come as a £300,000 temporary gym planned for the centre has been delayed until the New Year.

The gym – which will be situated in the car park next to the main entrance – is due to be in place while work is carried out.

The need for ground stabilisation works follows the discovery of a void under part of the existing leisure centre understood to have been present for a number of years.

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It was discovered when the reinforced concrete slab for the new swimming pool was cast.

The temporary gym will include equipment currently available in the existing leisure and wellness centre and expert advice and guidance will be provided by members of the Brimhams Active team.

Customers will be able to use the changing and shower facilities in the new pool area – as well as the sauna and steam suite – which opened in March and group exercise classes will also continue to be provided at Hugh Ripley Hall.

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