Oxford City Council has given advance warning of the temporary closure the swimming pools at Ferry Leisure Centre for approximately four weeks from Saturday 31 July, after asbestos debris was found in the plant room that heats the swimming pools at the centre.
The asbestos debris was found in the plant room that heats the swimming pools at Ferry Leisure Centre during an intrusive survey. The plant room also powers its pump and filtration systems. The survey was carried out at the main pool hall area of Ferry Leisure Centre, built in the 1970s, to see how the building could be upgraded to reduce its carbon emissions.
Immediately after the asbestos was discovered, the plant room was sealed, and staff have only entered if absolutely necessary and while wearing protective equipment. The plant room is only accessible to staff, so the asbestos poses no risk to members of the public. The pool remains perfectly safe for swimmers and staff members.
Now Oxford City Council has given advance warning of the need to temporarily close the swimming pools after swimming lessons conclude on Saturday, 31 July. This is to allow experts in asbestos removal to carry out the work to remove the asbestos, and this is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete.
All other facilities at Ferry Leisure Centre, including the gym, squash court, and sports hall serviced by a second unaffected plant room, will remain open while the work is carried out. Fusion Lifestyle is looking to relocate the Ferry swimming offer as feasibly as possible to other city pools, and customers will be contacted and kept informed of these changes.
The City Council also operates Hinksey Outdoor Pool and swimming pools at Barton Leisure Centre and Leys Pools and Leisure Centre. Members at Ferry Leisure Centre will be invited to use these pools during the closure.
Oxford City Council is carrying out work to decarbonisation its largest carbon-emitting buildings, including Ferry Pool after it was awarded a total grant of up to £10.9m from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS).
The investment will help the council to deliver significant improvements to community facilities, reduce operating costs, improve the customer experience and invest in the lifespan of facilities that help to improve the wellbeing and life chances for Oxford communities and residents.
The City Council has submitted a comprehensive risk assessment and plan of works to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They will undertake a thorough review of the documentation submitted before authorising the work required.
The asbestos removal work is required to enable the building decarbonisation project to be successfully delivered.
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “It is disappointing to have to temporarily close the swimming pools at Ferry Leisure Centre, particularly as the pandemic has limited people’s access to leisure and recreation facilities.
“The material was discovered as part of explorations into how we can reduce carbon emissions at Ferry Leisure Centre, something that needs to be done to reduce the carbon impact and secure the long-term future of the facility.
“All other facilities at Ferry Leisure Centre will remain fully open throughout the removal operation. Hinksey Outdoor Pool and the pools at Barton Leisure Centre and the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre are also fully operational.
“We apologise for the inconvenience the pool closure will cause and want to reassure swimmers and staff at the centre that there is no risk to health associated with asbestos at the site.”