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Cotswold leisure centre due to re-open early next year

Cotswold District Council said today that despite severe flood damage, the Cotswold Leisure Centre in Cirencester should be open early next year.

The Council, supported by its insurers Royal & SunAlliance and their contractors, is making every effort to get back up and running following the unprecedented rainfall that hit Gloucestershire last month.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment in the plant room was damaged by 70,000 gallons of flood water and must now be replaced in a complex work schedule expected to take a number of months. The building is fully insured.

The Council’s Portfolio holder for Property & Benefits, Cllr Nick Parsons, said: “We appreciate that customers want to know exactly when we will be re-opening. However, due to the scale and complexity of the damage, it is too early to name a date.”

The Council will be employing multiple contractors to deal with different aspects of the work, using a number of suppliers. It is anticipated that despite the complexity of the project, the leisure centre will re-open early next year. A more detailed timetable is currently being worked upon, and will be released when it is agreed.

A section of the car park will be fenced off to house a generator while contractors strip the plant room of all the damaged equipment over an expected period of four weeks. A major programme of replacement work will then begin.

While the Council and its insurers are doing everything they can to minimise the disruption, much of the equipment that needs replacing, including boilers, electrical systems, control panels and water filtration plant use high-tech components that will take several months to replace.

Cllr Parsons added: “This is a massive undertaking to rebuild the very heart of the centre and we must not under-estimate the volume of complex work involved in a confined space. We will be working with our contractors to get the building open again as soon as possible.

“We have written to our members, and will be rewarding them with three months’ free membership for their loyalty.

“In the meantime, alternative facilties are available at our centres at Chipping Campden, Tetbury, Fairford and Bourton and at the open air swimming pool in Cirencester. We will also be running a fitness programme at Kingshill School, thanks to the school’s co-operation.”

The vast majority of Cotswold Leisure Centre’s staff have been re-deployed by the Council during the closure. Their new roles include life guarding at the open air pool, helping to collect flood-damaged furniture and providing extra help to cover holidays across council teams, such as planning, printing, licensing, visitor information centres, housing and museums.

A number of staff have moved to the centres at Bourton and Fairford, or have been helping out with the Council’s summer sports coaching scheme.

Article included with kind permission of Cotswold District Council - www.cotswold.gov.uk

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