Sheffield’s Ponds Forge leisure pool to stay closed until January 2022
Sheffield City Trust said Ponds Forge leisure pool is not expected reopen until January next year while work costing around £500,000 is carried out.
The Trust – which runs several of the city’s biggest venues including City Hall and Sheffield Arena – closed the pool ahead of the school holidays after noticing deterioration to the flumes.
It said the damage occurred during the time the building was closed for Covid-19.
Sheffield Council is SCT’s main funder and has given millions upon millions of pounds to the provider over the past few years to keep it afloat as council officers found it was “haemorrhaging cash”.
This work alongside newly announced improvements are expected to cost around £500,000 and will be funded through existing maintenance budgets made available by the council.
Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SCT, said: “While the leisure pool is undergoing refurbishment, the rest of Ponds Forge remains open, with many swimmers still enjoying use of the competition pool.
“The new features will ensure that Ponds Forge offers families a better leisure experience in the centre of Sheffield, complementing Hillsborough Leisure Centre and the other community swimming pools across the city.
“The work is being carried out in partnership with Sheffield City Council and we are grateful for their support. We anticipate the leisure pool, including the new features being open at the beginning of January 2022.”
Councillor Terry Fox, leader of the council, added: “I understand that a prolonged closure of the leisure pool will be disappointing for some people, but it’s really important that as many improvements and maintenance works as possible are completed now, to prevent further disruption and closures in the future and to make sure we’re investing efficiently in Sheffield’s leisure facilities.
“We recognise the need for facilities that are fit for purpose, well maintained and provide quality health and leisure experiences for everyone in Sheffield. Ponds Forge has a significant role to play in that and will support our plans for a future leisure strategy for Sheffield. We look forward to reopening the new look family pool early next year and to sharing more details about city wide future leisure plans in the autumn.”
SCT said work to remove the flumes from the leisure pool was “progressing well” and it was now bringing forward a programme of other planned work including an upgrade to the leisure pool area.
It said the closure provided an “opportunity to modernise some existing features” including creating a new disability-friendly zone and baby swimming area, a more powerful wave experience and refurbishment of the toddler zone and lazy river area.
Talking on the closure ahead of summer councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “The council gave them substantial amounts of money last year, parts of which we were told was to keep these places maintained. So the question that begs an answer is: why weren’t these maintained? And more importantly, what actions will Sheffield Council be taking against SCT now in terms of not being able to fulfil its obligations to run leisure facilities in our city? It’s totally unacceptable.”
The council previously agreed to stop subsidy of SCT by 2020 but recognised at least a year before that this was “unachievable” and continued to provide millions of pounds.