COUNCIL chiefs are set to take the plunge and refurbish two of the district’s rapidly deteriorating paddling pools.
The decision is due to be made by members of Warwick District Council’s Cabinet on Thursday (February 8) amid concerns the rising costs of continued repairs to the pools are proving a serious drain on the council’s budget.
The existing paddling pools in Victoria Park in Leamington and St Nicholas Park in Warwick are needing significant annual repair due to problems with their bases, which has led to unplanned closures and higher than normal costs to maintain.
This is projected to continue and the likelihood of costs to increase as the pools deteriorate further.
Councillors are recommended to agreed that the paddling pool at Victoria Park remain closed this year, while an additional £10,000 be used for a temporary repair of the paddling pool at St Nicholas Park so it can be used by families this summer.
In the meantime, the Cabinet is being urged to agree to officers progressing with plans for a renovation and upgrade of both pools, the cost of which is not being revealed to the public at this stage.
The paddling pools provide water play for toddlers and young children within a fenced area adjacent to the play area at the centre of both parks. The pool area is 79 metres squared at Victoria Park and 62 metres squared at St. Nicholas Park.
They are both free to use and are open usually from May half-term, through the summer until mid- September. It is estimated there are approximately 140,000 visits to the paddling pools over the 17 week opening period, with St Nicholas Park being generally busier than Victoria Park.
In Victoria Park, the original pool was installed in 1933 and the re-surfacing of the pool was undertaken in 2018.
The pool in St Nicholas Park was installed around the 1930’s. It has not been resurfaced since the changes to make it more accessible were undertaken at least 10 years ago.
The paddling pools are a significant cost to WDC on an annual basis and the cost of the additional repairs on top of the annual maintenance cost is increasingly prohibitive.
In 2021 maintenance cost for both pools was £53,257. In 2023 it was £90,817.
A report from the pool maintenance provider, Poolcare, has led officers to conclude that the pools can no longer be sustained with short term repair but require wholesale replacement including a new subbase, pump, and filtration equipment.
Upgrades could include jets and fountains, benches for parents and provision of shaded areas.
Work has been prioritised on the pool at Victoria Park due to its poor condition, with a start date penciled in for this autumn.