Elland swimming pool closes in a hurry over fears the roof may collapse

Elland Swimming Pool
Elland Swimming Pool

Swimmers were dramatically ordered out of Elland swimming pool amid fears the roof could cave in.

Experts decided to pull the plug on the 110-year-old Victorian baths because corrosion in iron supports meant the roof could collapse at any time.

Thursday’s 70mph winds and driving rain meant the risk of roof failure was increased, so council officials asked people to evacuate the building immediately for their own safety. The sudden action came after an independent structural report commissioned by the council on Wednesday.

The detailed report revealed severe corrosion in roof supports, creating what the council described as “significant danger to staff and the public from a roof collapse.”

Tom Garnett was just getting changed after his swim when officers arrived to close the pool.

He said: “I had just got out and was getting changed when the council arrived and asked us to leave.

“We were told there had been a report which said the pool had reached the end of its life and that we had to go.”

The decision seems to mark the end of a fight by swimming groups and residents to save the baths, which cost the council £140,000 a year to run and had seen usage drop by 50 per cent since 2006.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for communities Pauline Nash said that while the news was disappointing, officials were left with little choice.

“The condition of the roof supports is such that, to keep the pool open, would be putting the public and staff in danger,” she said.

“The safety of the public is paramount and the council is not prepared to take any risks.”

The pool will remain closed until officials have carried out further assessments, although it is thought extremely unlikely it will reopen.

Elland councillor David Hardy admitted the pool had come to the end of its days.

“It’s a crying shame,” he said. “A lot of us worked very hard to keep it open but it’s just got away from us.”

The council is contacting all schools and groups which use Elland Pool to inform them of the decision and to advise alternative arrangements.

People on Facebook have had their say on the closure.

Dawn Blakey said: “There are a lot of schools in Elland that used the pool. Where was the support to keep it open from parents whose children use the pool?”

Finola Mcnamara added: “All the money that’s going into the Olympics’ opening ceremony – well it would be a better idea to spend it on places like this. It’s all wrong and sad.”