New Ripon pool may not be ready to open in November
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Last updated Sep 27, 2021
Ripon's new swimming pool

Ripon’s new multi-million pound leisure development may not be ready to open in November, as previously indicated.

The scheme, for which known costs were in excess of £10.2 million before a six-month delay was announced last year, was originally scheduled to open this summer.

Last autumn, a press release by Harrogate Borough Council said the development at Camp Close, off Dallamires Lane, would open in November.

But in an update issued by the council a spokesperson, said:

“We can confirm the new swimming pool in Ripon is due to open towards the end of the year.

“An official opening date will be confirmed in the coming weeks once the facility has been handed-over by Willmott Dixon, our appointed contractor carrying out the works.”

Ripon swimming pool opening sign

An ‘opening in summer 2021’ sign was later replaced by one saying ‘opening in autumn 2021’.

The statement, added:

“Following this handover, we will carry out the necessary staff training and rigorous testing to prepare the new facility for opening.

“The addition of the new swimming pool is a major development for Ripon and the surrounding area and we’re delighted to announce that it will be officially opened later this autumn.”

£10.2m contract

A £10.2 million contract was awarded to Willmott Dixon before work started on site in November 2019.

The 17-month contact was for delivery of a six-lane pool, along with refurbishment of the existing Ripon Leisure Centre.

This specified a completion date of 21 May this year, but this was later amended to November.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, the council’s cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport said, at the time, that the project had been ‘slightly delayed’ by covid.

In the release dated 13 November, he added:

“Ground work, known as grouting, is nearing completion.”

Ground stability issues

Cllr Lumley’s statement came two months after a ‘void’ was discovered near the entrance to the existing leisure centre building, which was constructed in the mid 1990s.

A previous sinkhole that opened up in February 2018 caused the closure of the leisure centre car park and despite concerns raised about the suitability of the Camp Close site for addition of a swimming pool, the scheme was granted approval at a council planning meeting in June 2019.

Following discovery of the second ‘void’  Stantec, an international engineering, design and consultancy practice, carried out an initial inspection and in a report, seen by the Stray Ferret, raised concerns about the load-bearing capacity of existing piles under the leisure centre, which would have been used to support the connection between it and the new pool.


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What will the final cost be?

The Stray Ferret has submitted two Freedom of Information requests to the council in an attempt to establish what additional costs have been incurred, on top of the original £10.2 million contract for the scheme.

In its response to the first request, the council said that the information it held was ‘confidential’. In its response to the second request, it said ‘the final costs are not yet known.’

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The Stray Ferret Feed

🚨 Traffic 🚨 A look ahead at scheduled works and drivers on Ripon Road will only get a brief respite from temporary lights.

The delayed gas works are due to finish on October 22 but Yorkshire Water and Open Reach will be back from October 25 until November 1.

#SFTraffic

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