Frustrating obstacles almost overcome for £1.3 million pool project

Richard Marshall and Julie Wilby with Mytholmroyd Community Centre users.
Richard Marshall and Julie Wilby with Mytholmroyd Community Centre users.

Campaigners fighting to build a new swimming pool in Mytholmroyd say they hope the work will finally begin on the long-awaited development in the “near future”.

The announcement comes after decades of set backs, but Hebden Royd and District Swimming Association says it is now close to raising the £1.3m cash needed for the public pool. The charity’s aim is to provide a swimming pool and other community facilities to provide a wide choice of sport and leisure activities for the upper Calder Valley.

But budget constraints means that plans have had to be amended to ensure the project is affordable and the association has thanked Hebden Royd residents for their continued support.

Richard Marshall, former councillor and long-time campaigner with the association, said: “When they opened the new council offices in 1898, councillors apologised to the people of Hebden Bridge because they hadn’t, as they had promised, built a swimming pool on the same site.

“The committee were delighted when, in March 2013, we held a presentation at Mytholmroyd Community Centre showing the new swimming pool, gym and aerobic dance studio and we were assured that work would, after 117 years, start the following May and the cost was within our budget of £1.3m. “The committee are very two years since that presentation and feel that we owe the community an explanation as to why it has taken so long. Unfortunately costs escalated until the cost was £1.9m which was well in excess of our budget. We eventually found a contractor who said he could build the swimming pool, but the gym and and aerobic dance studio would not be finished for £1.2m. The bank approved the development and offered to lend us sufficient funds to complete the project.

“We were astonished when the contractor submitted his quotation for £1.6m, so once again we had to find someone who could build the pool within our budget. We asked a local chartered building surveyor to carry out an appraisal of the reports and drawings which had been prepared and he has produced a revised scheme for £1.3m, which is within our budget. We have almost £1m cash available, so we are now negotiating with our bank for a loan to make up the difference. We are also disconcerted at the length of time it has take to find a contractor who is able to build the project within our budget. We want to thank the members of our local community for their generosity and support through what has been a very stressful period. This is a very prestigious community development and, like the conversion of two derelict chicken huts to provide a community and leisure centre, work ill start on this development in the near future.”