Ripon pool’s final cost ‘not yet known’, says council


Last updated Mar 23, 2021
Photo of new Ripon Swimming Pool under construction
The Ripon swimming pool construction and leisure centre refurbishment is due for completion in November.

Harrogate Borough Council has said it still does not know the final cost of Ripon’s new swimming pool.

In response to a second Freedom of Information request about the project from the Stray Ferret, the council said.

“The information you request is not held by Harrogate Borough Council because the final costs are not yet known.”

A £10.2 million contract was awarded to construction company 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 on the Dallamires Lane site.

That contract specified a completion date of May 21 this year, but a press release issued by HBC said the project will now be completed in November.

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

In a press release dated November 13, he added:

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

Grouting is a method used to stabilise unstable ground.

Read more:

Ground stability issues

Sixteen months before the council approved the swimming pool development, a sinkhole opened up in the leisure centre car park.

Following the incident in February 2018, which saw the car park barriered off and closed, the council issued this statement:

“The sinkhole will not affect the project to construct a new pool for Ripon. We are still waiting for the structural engineer’s report, which will influence the design of the new building.

“We’ve always known about the potential of sinkholes on the site which is why we’ve been carrying out tests to understand what foundations may be required.”

At a June 2019 planning meeting, three members of the eight-member committee abstained rather than support the project, after ‘deep concerns’ were expressed about the sinkhole risk in an area of Ripon known for widespread gypsum deposits.

HBC’s response to first FOI request

In the first FOI request, the Stray Ferret asked HBC how much of the contract costs related to ground remediation prior to construction.

The council was also asked if additional fees are payable to Willmott Dixon for extension of the project.

HBC responded, saying:

“Additional ‘site preliminaries’ will be payable to the main contractor as a result of the extension of the construction contract.”

The council added:

“A public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that its disclosure would adversely affect the confidentiality of commercial or industrial information where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest.”


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