Closure of local swimming pool to ensure 'safety of staff and customers'

Head of Invest, Paul Kettrick, made a statement to councillors at Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday.

Closure of Bo’ness swimming pool was to ensure ‘safety of staff and customers’ LDRS

The sudden closure of Bo’ness Recreation Centre’s swimming pool was to ensure the safety of staff and customer, councillors have been told.

Head of Invest, Paul Kettrick, made a statement to councillors at Falkirk Council’s executive on Tuesday following yesterday’s shock news that the pool would close immediately.

Customers were told that the decision followed an inspection on Thursday, February 29, and was to “ensure both customers and staff are protected from the health and safety risks posed”.

The recreation centre as a whole will close on May 3 although a determined campaign by local residents is challenging the closure every step of the way.

Protestors outside Bo'ness swimming pool following it's closure. LDRS

The campaign group Save Bo’ness Reccy says it intends to go ahead with a photo call this Saturday to show the strength of feeling that remains in the town against the closure of the facility.

Falkirk councillors voted to shut the centre for good after urgent repairs were identified including rewiring, new boilers and structural issues, with the estimated cost exceeding £4 million.

At the meeting, Mr Kettrick told members of Falkirk Council’s executive that an independent structural engineer’s had found “a significant deterioration due to corrosion and its structural integrity cannot be confirmed”.

This followed on from an earlier building surveyor report presented to elected members in January 2024 highlighting the building was rated as a ‘D’ being categorised as “life expired and/or serious risk of imminent failure; risk of injury”.

Mr Kettrick added that the latest report on Friday evening had found: “Water was observed to be seeping through the pool wall to the full perimeter of the ‘deep end’ of the pool, including the public corridor on the east side.

‘It is recommended that the pool water be immediately drained down to remove load from the wall and that in the interim period, access within the plant room corridor is prohibited.’

“It is expected that significant remedial work, including partial removal and reconstruction of the walls would be required, given the anticipated level of corrosion.”

Mr Kettrick added: “Given these findings, at the first opportunity yesterday morning, emergency discussions took place with a variety of colleagues including senior leaders, building design and construction professionals, engineers, sport and leisure and health and safety colleagues together with the external chartered engineers.”

“The unanimous conclusion was that in the interests of health and safety, the pool would close with immediate effect with the areas advised now having access prohibited.

“The pool area is now secured and we are now progressing the appropriate process for draining the pool.

“Unions and staff have been engaged and elected members advised and customers, where possible, have been contacted.”

Bo’ness councillor Ann Ritchie said she was “devastated” to hear about the closure and had asked officers for more information, including a copy of the latest report.

Cllr Ritchie said she has also asked officers to look at the possibility of opening Bo’ness Academy’s pool during the school holidays to allow children to use it.

The Independent councillor said she will continue to help residents fight the closure and intends to attend the photo call at the centre on Saturday at 9 am.

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