AN ANCIENT wall has been unearthed during building preparations for Kenilworth’s new multi-million pound swimming pool.
And while of great historical interest, the discovery could yet again delay the much-postponed start to the leisure development project.
The archaeological find, believed to be part of a water mill which stood on the site in medieval times, is currently being analysed by experts from Historic England, Archaeology Warwickshire and local historians.
It was discovered as the site in Abbey Fields was made ready for building to begin on an indoor swimming pool to replace the town’s lido.
Warwick District Council’s (WDC) design team – and their contractors AR Demolition and Kier Construction – are now carefully clearing a larger portion of the building site to see if any more walls or other remains can be found.
WDC economy and culture spokesperson, Coun Liam Bartlett said: “Given the historic significance of Abbey Fields we will need to establish the full extent of the walls and ensure that they can be preserved in situ. Although this discovery will not prevent the construction of the new building, it could affect its design as we will need to decide whether the walls should be carefully buried or put on show.
“This development has put a temporary hold on the signing of contracts, while we assess the financial implications of any changes or further delays to the programme. It is however hoped that this can be resolved very soon and that work on site can begin in early September, after the school holidays.”
The campaign group fighting plans to replace Kenilworth’s 125-year-old lido with a second indoor swimming pool have previously hit out at delays to WDC’s leisure plan.
The plans were given the green light in 2021 but a start date for building work to commence has been repeatedly put back.
The campaign group have argued that restoring Kenilworth lido would cost less financially and environmentally.
The indoor pool is part of a multi-million pound plan for a sports hall, gym and fitness studios, as well as a new HQ for local scouts and guides on the site of Castle Farm Recreation Centre, which will be renamed Castle Farm Leisure Centre.
WDC said that in recent weeks other preparatory work has continued with the installation of a new path around the rear of the old swimming pool building. This will ensure that pedestrians can continue to cross the Finham Brook and gain access to the park safely when the construction site hoardings are in place, by using the bridge near to the duck-feeding platform.
Construction work on the swimming centre is expected to begin in September.