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Ripon pool work to start next month

Ripon pool work to start next month

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Lachlan Leeming at 5:30pm 16th October 2019. (Updated at 5:34pm 16th October 2019)

Work on Ripon's new pool and refurbished leisure centre is set to begin in late November.

  • Planning permission was granted for the swimming pool in June - despite concerns about the sinkhole risk.
  • Work is planned to start next month.  

Coun Stanley Lumley, the cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, said this week that contracts are due to be signed within the next week which would see construction on the project start begin before the end of the year.

He said: 

“It’s fantastic news. It has been a difficult process, but the work had to be done to find the best engineering and design solutions to allow us to complete this."

Earlier this month Coun Lumley told fellow councillors that planning of the swimming pool extension and refurbishment had moved onto “the last stage”:

“We recently passed at cabinet to move ahead with the project following extensive engineering works and design towards moving forward."

At a meeting of Harrogate’s cabinet last month, councillors approved progressing with the project during an exempt session, which was held behind closed doors due to concerns over “commercial sensitivities”.

However, notes published after the meeting show that cabinet members had agreed on the cost of the project, as well as appointing Willmott Dixon as the main contractor for the works.

Planning permission was granted for the swimming pool in June in controversial circumstances, with councillors expressing “deep concerns” about the sinkhole risk surrounding the site – with the leisure centre, like much of wider Ripon, sitting on known gypsum deposits.

Those concerns saw three of the eight-member planning committee abstain from voting, while Coun Nigel Simms voted against it: 

“Once a hole has formed underneath it, it goes in. I do not believe that you can build this thing and that in 50 years time it will still be there for the use of the people of Ripon. I don’t think it’s an economic use of public funds."

Councillors at the same meeting were told the authority had worked with a leading ground stabilisation company and specialists in geology and sinkholes to carry out assessments of the site and produce a ground stabilisation report.
Speaking in support of the project, Coun Zoe Metcalfe stated that “Ripon desperately needs a new pool” which would “be a great community asset”.

At a meeting earlier this month, it was revealed that the council wouldn’t be progressing with plans to build new housing at Allhallowgate in Ripon, due to the costs of mitigating the sinkhole risk being untenable.

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