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Pool maintenance to take longer than first expected

Pool maintenance to take longer than first expected
24 March 2023

Essential maintenance work on the Dolphin Centre’s main swimming pool will take longer than first expected – with the pool anticipated to re-open in September this year.

A six-week demolition phase of work began recently. An exact date for the pool reopening will be confirmed when the demolition work is completed, in early May.

Demolition work is being carried out at night to enable other areas of the pool complex to remain open.

The Dolphin Centre’s temporary pool programme – including swimming lessons for around 1,500 children, lane swimming, diving board sessions, toddler pool bookings, water aerobics and some family provision – will continue.

Head of leisure Lisa Soderman said: “When the pool was drained, detailed investigatory work identified that the deterioration was more extensive than initially anticipated.

“Specialist contractors have now confirmed exact requirements which will involve a more detailed programme of works that will take longer to complete.  It’s critical that the work completed as part of this project resolves the structural issues to avoid disruption in the future.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for customers, but the work is essential to ensure we have a pool in the future.

“As soon as we can confirm an exact reopening date, we will share this information with customers as widely as possible. I would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work to deliver a pool that people in Darlington can enjoy for many years to come.”


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What has been done so far?
A. Until the pool was drained the detailed investigatory work could not be completed.  The original pool plans did not contain the level of detail required to draw together the specification, so the investigation included sampling areas of the pool by removing the tiles and screed and taking core samples of the concrete for testing. The findings have then been used to inform the detailed specification for the procurement process. The procurement process is now complete and specialist contractors have been awarded the contracts to complete the works.  Demolition began on site on Tuesday 21 March.


Q. What could delay the project further?
A. Until the demolition work is completed and we have clear sight of all the structural elements, some assumptions on the level of repair remain. However, due to the detailed investigation work completed up front, the risk associated with these have been minimised.


Q. How confident are you that the pool will reopen in September?
A. Based on the information we have and the advice from specialist contractors involved in the project, we are confident of a September opening. The demolition work could identify a problem that we are not yet aware of.


Q. What is the problem with the pool?
The pool is 40 years old and without investment will come to the end of its natural life cycle.  Hairline fractures in the tiles due to original design and construction has meant that over time water from the pool has leaked into the concrete below which has corroded due to the chloride. This means that not only do we need to address the structural work below the pool, but we need to use modern waterproofing technology and construction techniques to future proof the pool. The project is complicated, but Darlington Borough Council is committed to ensuring that residents can continue to enjoy their local pool in the future.

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