Published: Tuesday, 15th August 2017

Ambitious plans for a new swimming pool and leisure centre in Ripon will take a step closer to reality next week (Wednesday 23 August).

A report will go before a meeting of Harrogate Borough Council's cabinet asking for approval to proceed with the design development of a new swimming pool, which will be adjacent to the existing leisure centre on Dallamires Lane. The project would also include the redesign of the current leisure facilities at the site.

The report recommends the creation of a new five lane, 25 metre swimming pool, a pool side viewing area and a sauna. The building would be linked to the leisure centre and share a reception area.

As well as creating a new swimming facility, the report also recommends developing the current leisure centre by expanding the Cardio Vascular Gym and remodelling the 'art space' to create three separate studios where spin, fitness, pilates, yoga and other activities could take place at the same time.

Other proposals include the relaying of the outdoor football pitch, building associated changing rooms and creating a new children's play area.

Plans are well underway to improve the swimming and fitness facilities available in Ripon. In October 2015, Harrogate Borough Council's cabinet agreed to progress plans for the development of a new swimming pool to replace the ageing Ripon Spa Baths. A team was 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 to enable a high quality pool to be developed. The council has since undertaken an initial feasibility study identifying the cost of the project.

Earlier this year, residents of Ripon and the surrounding area took part in a public consultation on the types of activities and classes they would like to see in a new swimming pool and leisure centre for the city. Responses have been considered in the development of the plans for the new facility.

Should Cabinet approve officers' recommendations, it is anticipated that the design phase will be completed by the end of March 2018. Cabinet will then be asked to approve the design, construction costs and appointment of a contractor to undertake the construction of the new facility, which would be completed by December 2019.

Councillor Stanley Lumley, Harrogate Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Sport said: "The creation of a new swimming pool and leisure centre for Ripon is a main priority for the council.

"It is important that the community in and around Ripon has access to excellent leisure facilities and whilst Ripon Spa Baths has served us well, there is a real need for a better, more modern facility in the city.

"Officers have already engaged with the local community, so that they can understand what they would like to see in a new facility. This has helped influence its design.

"Cabinet will now consider the options which are available with the view of progressing the design and technical specifications for the site. This will allow us to gain a full understanding of the costs and resulting benefits of the project.

"It is important that we create a leisure facility which meets the community's needs and we will be holding a series of public events once a design has been created, so that we can gain their views."

For more information on the council's report on a new swimming pool for Ripon visit localdemocracy.harrogate.gov.uk/submissiondocuments.asp?submissionid=31244.