COUNCIL chiefs have given the go-ahead for work to continue on the new swimming pool in Kenilworth as the “least worst option”.
Members of Warwick District Council’s Cabinet met on Thursday (November 2) to consider whether to approve revised plans for the pool project – which could cost tax payers an additional £7.9million – after medieval remains were found on site at Abbey Fields.
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.
WDC 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 will see an increase in costs from the original projected £14.7million to up to £22.6million.
One alternative put before councillors at the Cabinet meeting was to pull the plug on the pool project on its current site and find an alternative location.
But WDC 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 have taken an estimated one and a half years longer to complete and open to the public.
The other option was to terminate the project to build a new swimming pool building for Kenilworth. This option would have meant that people in Kenilworth would have had to travel to other towns to swim but would have cost approximately only £2,375,402, paid to the contractor to cancel the contract.
The decision will now go before Full Council on November 15 for final approval.
WDC leader Coun Ian Davison said: “Cabinet’s difficult decision to continue with the project on the current site is in my view the least-worst option in terms of value for money, I am however looking forward to progressing with these exciting new facilities, which will
bring much needed swimming provision to the heart of Kenilworth.
“We will now put this recommendation to Full Council and continue with our negotiations to drive down costs as much as possible.”
Building work should begin again in February and be completed by summer 2026.