Residents of Ripon and the surrounding area are being invited to comment on the types of activities and classes they would like to see in a new swimming pool and leisure centre for the city.
Harrogate Borough Council is proposing to build a new swimming pool to replace the ageing Ripon Spa Baths, which will be located next to the existing Leisure Centre on Dallamires Lane, to provide a combined wet and dry facility.
The council are keen to improve on the swimming and fitness facilities in the city and the six week public consultation, which is now open, will be used to gauge the public’s views on what they require from a new facility.
Ripon Spa Baths were built in 1904 as a health spa and in 1936 were extended to provide a swimming pool. Since 1974 the baths have been operated by Harrogate Borough Council. They provide a small but well used community pool with a small sauna and related ancillary facilities. The maximum pool capacity is currently 90 persons. The city centre location makes them reasonably accessible to those residents living in Ripon, but limited parking is a problem for those users living in the rural areas outside the city. The 113 year old building has also become expensive to maintain.
In 2008, Harrogate Borough Council embarked on the initial stages of designing a new swimming facility, however due to the economic downturn these plans were put on hold.
In October 2015, Harrogate Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to recommence plans for the development of a new swimming pool to replace Ripon Spa Baths. A team has since been established to manage the project, drawing on the expertise of officers from across the council.
In December 2016, cabinet approved a procurement option to enable the council to appoint a professional design team and main contractor to enable a high quality pool to be developed by a target date of December 2019. The council is currently in the process of undertaking an initial feasibility study which will identify the cost of the project.
As well as the creation of a new swimming pool, Harrogate Borough Council wish to upgrade the current leisure centre – which has recently undergone improvements with new state of the art Technogym fitness equipment being installed in its Brimhams Fitness Centre. The intention is to integrate the Leisure Centre and the new pool with a shared reception area and other shared facilities which will reduce operating costs.
Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport said: “It is important that the community in and around Ripon has access to excellent leisure facilities so that they can lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. A new combined leisure centre and swimming pool for Ripon will certainly help achieve this.
“Whilst Ripon Spa Baths has served the community well over the years, there is clearly the need for better, modern, cost effective swimming provision in the city.
“It is important that we involve residents in the development of this new facility and we would like people’s feedback to help us decide which services and activities they would like to be available in the swimming pool and leisure centre. By doing so we can ensure that we create a facility which meets the needs of the community.
“So for instance, if you want to have the opportunity to experience sub aqua, snorkelling, water polo or canoeing, as well as general swimming then let us know.
“The outcome of this consultation will influence the design of the facility, so I would encourage the whole community to take part. Once a design has been created a further public consultation will be undertaken allowing residents to have the opportunity to comment on the proposed design. I look forward to hearing people’s views.”
The public consultation runs until Wednesday 8 March 2017 and is available to complete at www.harrogate.gov.uk/riponswimmingpoolconsultation <http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/riponswimmingpoolconsultation> .
Paper copies of the consultation are also available from Ripon Town Hall Customer Service Centre, Ripon Tourist Information Centre, Ripon Leisure Centre, Ripon Spa Baths and the council’s Crescent Gardens offices in Harrogate.