Tax payers left to foot the bill for significant increase in costs for Kenilworth pool - The Leamington Observer

Tax payers left to foot the bill for significant increase in costs for Kenilworth pool

Leamington Editorial 3rd Oct, 2023 Updated: 3rd Oct, 2023   0

COUNCIL tax payers may be left footing a bill of an additional £7.9million for a new swimming pool in Kenilworth after medieval remains were found on site.

The revelation was made at a meeting to update residents on the revised plans for the pool since the ancient remains – consisting of at least five buildings dating back to the 13th century – were found at Abbey Fields during work to demolish the previous pool in July last year.

The revised plans, to construct the new swimming pool on top of the remains of the medieval buildings, were unveiled at a meeting of over 200 residents at St Nicholas’s Church on Wednesday (September 27), with many others tuning in via Youtube.

Warwick District Council said that the discovery had led to a “significant” increase in costs.

The new indoor swimming 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.

It is set to replace the town’s, now closed, 125-year-old lido.

Padraig Herlihy, who is leading WDC’s project, said that the revised plans would see an increase in costs from the original projected £14.7million to up to £22.6million.

He explained WDC had also looked at the potential costs for an alternative site and the estimate had come back at £26.7million – an increase of £12million.

Mr Herlihy told the meeting that his team would continue to work on the revised plans for the pool to avoid any additional delay, unless the decision was taken to not progress.

Councillors are due to meet in November to make a decision.

WDC leader Coun Ian Davison said that the new swimming pool would ultimately have to be paid for by the tax payers of Warwick district.

He continued: “There are some other monies but there is a lot that will have to be paid by all of us.”

The new pool building would be redesigned to raise the foundations by 50cm, constructing a suspended slab to take the weight off the medieval remains.

The building height would also be raised by 35cm and there would be a new design to the drainage system.

A layer of native soil will be put on top of the remains before any building work takes place.

All other aspects of the new pool design will remain the same.

Should councillors give the go-ahead to the revised project, building work should begin again in February and would be completed by summer 2026.

More information on the Abbey Fields swimming pools project, including 3D model images of the archaeological finds, can be found on WDC’s website.

There is also an online form available to submit any further questions to the programme team.

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