CONSTRUCTION work on Kenilworth’s new swimming pool has been left up in the air as extensive ancient remains have been confirmed on site.
The previously unrecorded remains of at least five buildings associated with Kenilworth Abbey have been unearthed at the swimming pool site at Abbey Fields.
Whilst the function of the buildings found are still unknown, findings made by Archaeology Warwickshire, including ceramics, pottery, animal bones and rooftiles suggest that the earliest may date to the late 13th century, perhaps serving as a kitchen or guesthouse, with a significant amount of metalworking debris indicating that there could have been a smithy nearby.
Since the extensive discoveries were made, Warwick District Council’s project team has been working closely with Historic England, who have given their approval to revised plans to raise the level of the planned new swimming pool building so it sits over the historic remains.
These new plans will now be submitted for a Section 73 ‘material amendment to planning permission’ on the scheduled ancient monument site.
WDC’s leisure spokesperson Coun Jim Sinnott said: “We have been working meticulously with our partners to resolve the issues that have been created by the discovery of extensive unrecorded medieval structures. The huge scale has involved a complete redesign of the foundations of the new building, so that we can best protect what has been found underneath.
“This will inevitably take some time and could have big implications on the cost of the project. We are therefore preparing a full report which will be considered by Cabinet and Full Council later this year.
“We know that it is important to keep the public fully informed about progress on this redevelopment and are in discussion with Kenilworth Town Council about holding a public meeting for residents at the earliest opportunity.
“The Council understands the frustration of local people about the delays and current lack of swimming provision but remains committed to providing the town of Kenilworth with a new facility they can be proud of.”
Coun Sinnorr added: “At this stage we would like to thank our contractors AR Demolition for their unwavering dedication and professionalism throughout our current challenges and also the help and advice of the team at Archaeology Warwickshire.”