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Riverside pool set to reopen next year

A fire broke out at the facility in 2017

The council says the facility 'will be better than ever'

Exeter City Council says it plans to reopen the pool at the Riverside Leisure Centre next year.

The project has been hit by a number of delays. Last August it was thought that it would reopen at the start of this year.

But councillors have now reaffirmed their commitment to reopening the pool as soon as refurbishment and repair works are completed, though no date has been given.

Major structural repair works are currently taking place at the building - which were discovered after a major fire in 2017.

In a site visit they took part in to see progress, the on-site team explained how detailed surveys have found significant, major defects in the building which will require the roof structure and pool surround area to be rebuilt.

A significant part of the roof area will need to be replaced, whilst part of the structure around the pool had become corroded and will need to be replaced.

The repair work identified is significant and – due the sequencing of the works and health and safety considerations - will take time to complete, councillors were told.

Councillor Ollie Pearson, portfolio holder for leisure & physical activity, said: “It has been a frustrating project because the pool has been closed a long time. What we want to see is people being able to use the swimming pool. It’s going to be a little while before that happens because the underlying issues with the building have made the repair works much more difficult than they would otherwise have been.

“But we are completely committed to getting the Riverside fully reopened. As a council we know what it means to the people of West Exe, and for people in the whole of the city. That is what we have been impressing on all the contractors working on this project.  

"We can see that they are doing great work in there, but we have impressed on them just how urgently this facility is needed."

Once the current works are completed (expected to be later this year), this will allow the extensive internal scaffolding structure to be removed and then the stage of internal works to the pool surround can be commenced.

But Cllr Pearson confirmed that the intention is that the pool will reopen next year, and the opportunity will now be taken to explore how to modernise the facility within the approved budget.

“There will be many new elements in there, including an emerging new health spa, which is going to be fantastic,” he said. 

“It is moving from a slightly 1980s look, which is perhaps how people remember it, to a modern facility which is going to be great for the people of Exeter, and I know that people will really appreciate it when it’s open.”

The gym and sports hall remain fully open to the public.

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