Scarborough’s main swimming pool has had more than 100 hours of unplanned closures in just over a year, leading to anger and disappointment among users.
The Scarborough News this week reveals the reasons behind the closures, after we submitted a Freedom of Information request.
The figures show that the main and small pools at the £14m sports village had 109 hours of unplanned closures from February 2018 to April 2019. No figures are available for before February 2018.
Reasons range from technical faults to human error – including staff lateness.
The sports village opened on the former Weaponness car and coach park in 2017, replacing Scarborough Sports Centre and Scarborough Indoor Pool, and combining their facilities on one site. It is owned by Scarborough Council and run by Everyone Active.
The longest closure, of 48 hours, was due to a technical issue of “backwash fault and pool refill” on January 7 this year.
Other technical issues which led to unplanned closures were due to the “compressor and circulation pump” which closed the pool for 33 hours in April 2019, and “overnight fault with pool circulation” in March 2018, closing the pool for five hours.
A “dosing fault” also closed the small pool for seven hours in July 2018.
There have also been four incidents involving human error for the whole pool closure. On April 29 and 30, the pool suffered an unplanned closure of three hours on each day due to a member of staff being late.
The pool also closed for a total of 10 hours due to environmental issues on two days in August 2018.
Scarborough Council says it cannot reveal the cost of repair for the technical issues as it is commercially sensitive information. However, the council says that there was no cost of repair for the other closures stated.
Everyone Active, which runs the centre on behalf of the council, has recognised the closures but says some are “unavoidable”.
Martin Miles, contract manager at Everyone Active, said: “We acknowledge that the pool at Scarborough Sports Village was subject to a number of closures over the course of a year.
“Unfortunately, some pool closures are unavoidable. When faced with incidents beyond our control, we have health and safety procedures in place to minimise disruption and reopen the pool as swiftly as possible.
“We have delivered additional training to colleagues to ensure any preventable incidents that can lead to pool closures are avoided.
“We also continue to work closely with our contractors to swiftly resolve maintenance issues that arise.
“We understand that any closures can be frustrating for our customers. Where swim lessons have been affected, all customers have been reimbursed.
“We have been proactive in tackling any issues that have led to pool closures and are confident that we are in the position to prevent unnecessary closures in the future.”
Closures of the main and learner pools have led to children’s lessons and swimming club training cancelled, and residents using the pool for leisure missing out.
Scarborough Swimming Club had to cancel several sessions early this year as “there is no other venue,” said head coach and chairman Sam Greetham.
“It’s quite a mammoth thing just operating in one facility with no suitable alternative without travelling,” he added.
One pool user told The Scarborough News: “I’ve been a member since the sports village opened – I actually left my other gym because it didn’t have a pool.
“Like many other users, I’m really unhappy about the pool closures. It has been out of action quite a few times over winter at short notice.
“I pay by direct debit every month for a service I’m not getting – it’s not good enough. The explanations of why it’s been closed have always been poor and vague.”