Lonsdale Pool Re-opens After Vital Repairs

A long-established swimming pool in a Derby suburb will re-open on Friday May 19 after more than three months of disruption which, staff feared, could spell the end of the road for the popular community facility.

Lonsdale Pool in Bishop Lonsdale Way in Mickleover, was built around 50 years ago and was owned by the University of Derby until it was taken on by Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust in 2007 after the surrounding land was sold for housing.

Following ongoing intermittent issues with the ageing heating system, the pool had to be closed completely for repairs in March with lessons, group lessons and public sessions transferred to Gayton Pool in Littleover which is managed by the charity on behalf of Derby City Council.

Delays with the parts and then unforeseen further pipework repairs dragged out the closure and staff were concerned that the pool would not be able to re-open.

Trust chairman Ian Cotter explained: “The struggle to maintain the ageing pool has been exacerbated with the rising energy costs and we feared that the heating breakdown and the difficulty sourcing the new parts required would be the final nail in the coffin.

“We are thankful that the work has been completed and that we can now re-open for the hundreds of swimmers of all ages who enjoy the facilities here every week.

“The staff have been amazing – contacting pool users, schools and parents to re-arrange lessons and sessions and have even spent some of the downtime giving the pool a fresh coat of paint.

“We are immensely relieved to be re-opening the doors this Friday and to getting back to business as usual.”

Lonsdale Pool’s extensive running costs are currently supported with £100,000 a year by the developers who built Varsity Grange on the former university site under a Section 106 agreement.

This agreement will finish in 2025 and Lonsdale Trust continues to look at various options available to upgrade the existing facilities, particularly with energy efficiency in mind, or to find an alternative site.

Mr Cotter concluded: “Lonsdale Pool is a popular facility for people of all ages who regularly benefit from the health benefits of swimming and we want to ensure that this continues for many years to come.

“We have been looking at two different options for many years – either finding a suitable alternative site in this area or finding a way to keep the current pool operational after 2025. 

“The key to staying here hinge on drastically improving the building’s energy efficiency – particularly installing insulation which will be extremely expensive.

“This issue has been brought into sharper focus with rising energy costs. Our gas bills have increased from £34k to £104k per year and electricity is also three times higher.

“We are currently working with the team at Sigma architects in Derby to look at all the options and are hoping to get a slice of the £63m that the government has promised facilities such as ours via Sport England to make our plans a reality.”

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