COUNCIL chiefs are set to decide whether to continue with the new swimming pool at Abbey Fields in Kenilworth amid escalating costs.
Members of Warwick District Council’s Cabinet will meet on Thursday November 2 to consider whether to give the go-ahead to revised plans for the pool project – which could cost tax payers an additional £7.9million – after medieval remains were found on site.
New plans for the pool had to be drawn up after the 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 plans, to construct the new swimming pool on top of the remains of the medieval buildings, were unveiled at a public meeting in September.
Warwick District Council also revealed at the meeting that the discovery had led to a “significant” increase in costs and the project would take longer to complete – lasting 114 weeks instead of the originally projected 74.
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.
The revised plans would see an increase in costs from the original projected £14.7million to up to £22.6million.
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.
All other aspects of the new pool design would remain the same.
One alternative to be put before councillors at the Cabinet meeting is to pull the plug on the pool project on its current site and find an alternative location.
WDC has looked at the potential costs for an alternative site and the estimate came back as £26.7million – an increase of £12million. A pool on an alternative site would also take an estimated one and a half years longer to complete and open to the public.
The other option would be to terminate the project to build a new swimming pool building for Kenilworth. This option would mean that people in Kenilworth would have to travel to other towns to swim but would cost approximately only £2,375,402, which would have to be paid to the contractor to cancel the contract.
Planning officers have recommended the Cabinet continue with the revised project on the existing site.
Should councillors give the go-ahead to the revised project, building work should begin again in February and would be completed by summer 2026.