An historic milestone is being marked to herald the start of work on a brand new swimming pool and spa in Taunton Deane.
The pool at Blackbrook will be the first to be built in the Borough in many years and will provide modern community swimming facilities for Taunton and further afield. It will be operated by the Council’s leisure partner, Tone Leisure.
Contracts have just been signed between Taunton Deane Borough Council and contractors BAM – and diggers will soon be at work as construction gets under way.
The £5.7 million project is the realisation of a long held ambition to provide the Borough with a 21st century pool combined with up to the minute spa facilities to give the community an all-round leisure experience.
A new learner pool is part of the scheme and will eventually replace the ageing and costly to maintain St James Street pool in Taunton. This will remain open until the new pool is up and running.
The new pool at Blackbrook coupled with the £1.2 million refurbishment of Station Road pool, will provide the county town with some of the best leisure facilities in Somerset.
Cllr Catherine Herbert, Executive Councillor for leisure, said:
“The new pool will be fantastic, providing brilliant facilities for our growing community. This will be a great place for people of all ages – from the youngest learner swimmers to older people who will be able to enjoy a swim or spa session.
“I am delighted that we are able to invest in making Taunton Deane a great place to be. We have first class sports and leisure facilities – and this will make provision even better.”
Karen Arnold, who chairs Tone Leisure, said:
“We are delighted that the Council has taken the decision to replace St James Street Baths and that Taunton will not be losing any of its existing swimming pool provision. This is fantastic news against a backdrop of public funding cuts and loss of sporting facilities in other parts of the country.”
BAM construction director, Craig Allen, said:
“BAM has worked very closely with Taunton Deane and its team over the last six months to finalise the design proposals for Blackbrook Pool and Spa. We are now looking forward to creating this exciting leisure facility which will not only benefit local people but all of Somerset. This project adds to the many new buildings BAM have built in the county in recent years.”
The development will see a 25m six-lane pool, a smaller learner pool, spa and treatment rooms, changing village, a café and kitchen and storage space.
The decision to build the pool complex followed an in-depth review of swimming provision in the Borough that found a new pool was needed as the baths in St James Street were near the end of their life. Blackbrook was chosen as it already hosts the popular leisure centre.
Access to the centre will remain open throughout the construction with any potential disruption minimised.
Sports pitches close to the planned pool and spa will be retained and “buffered” by a safety area to avoid any clash between the new buildings and the playing areas.
The contract is expected to take a year to complete and the opening is scheduled to early 2016 – as ever the construction period does depend on the weather.