Ashbourne pool to reopen 12 January

The swimming pool at the District Council's Ashbourne Leisure Centre is set to reopen on Monday 12 January - giving users a first view of an externally funded £175,000 open plan "changing village".

And as a thank you to the local community for their patience over the past five months, the District Council will be charging just one pound for anyone to use the pool at public swimming sessions throughout the first week.

Cllr Tom Donnelly in the new changing village at Ashbourne Leisure Centre 300pxAn arson attack on the centre at the end of July last year closed the pool after damaging a plant room, including the pool's filtration units, and causing extensive smoke damage throughout the main pool hall and new changing village.

All "dryside" facilities at Ashbourne Leisure Centre - including the main sports hall and squash courts - have remained open.

Repairs and replacement work costing around £150,000 could only start after investigations by contractors and insurance assessors, and from Monday the pool will be open for business again with a full programme of activities, with the exception of the District Council's Learn to Swim Programme, which starts on Monday 19 January.

A £175,000 Sport England grant saw work begin in March last year on a new open plan "changing village" for the swimming pool to complement the modernisation in 2003 of the centre's reception area and dry side facilities. The new facilities were on the brink of being unveiled when fire broke out.

Also during the spring of 2014, the District Council, which also operates leisure centres in Bakewell, Matlock and Wirksworth, funded improvements to the energy efficiency of the building by providing new domestic hot and cold water services, new air handling plant, new low temperature heating circuits, improved control systems, new lighting and security upgrades. Just before Christmas, an additional £60,000 external funding saw the creation of an extended accessible fitness suite at Ashbourne Leisure Centre.

Chairman of the District Council's Community Committee, Councillor Jennifer Bower said:

"We experienced one or two teething problems with the pool heating system during testing over the Christmas period, but council staff have worked tirelessly to ensure the project stayed on track and keep to our promise of reopening the pool early in the New Year.

"After a turbulent few months for users and staff, during which time we estimate we lost around £150,000 income on top of the £150,000 repair bill, the good news is that Ashbourne Leisure Centre is now in the best shape in its history and we thoroughly recommend that users old and news drop by to sample the superb new facilities – and swim for just one pound in the first week."

The changing village modernisation programme has opened up an old reception area, offices and a network of narrow corridors to create a large open plan family-friendly changing village similar to the District Council's state-of-the-art facility at Arc Leisure Matlock. There are separate family changing rooms, with improved access and changing facilities for disabled users, together with new showers and toilets.

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