The shocking damage that forced Pontardawe Swimming pool to close
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Images from inside Pontardawe Swimming Pool show the shocking amounts of damage to the site’s supporting walls and pillars, which led to its immediate closure last week.
The Pontardawe pool was closed with immediate effect on Wednesday, November 30, after the discovery of serious defects relating to a void around the training pool and columns under spectator seating, as well as further deterioration of the structural concrete in pool tank walls, concrete soffits, and external concrete walls.
More worryingly, it appears some of these issues were first highlighted by building surveyor Arup eight years ago in a similar report which was carried out in 2014.
Images from the 2022 report now show the extent of the damage to the site, with large amounts of corrosion shown on soffits, pillars and supporting walls. The results of the report also highlighted a number of concerns, referencing in particular the corrosion and deterioration of the structural concrete, as well as the structural deterioration in the basement plant area.
A summary of the report read: “The 2022 Arup survey and subsequent CRL inspection both identified that the already serious structural defects noted in previous reports had continued to deteriorate. Comprehensive structural repair of these elements is now both necessary and urgent.”
The pool in Pontardawe has been managed by not-for-profit trust, Celtic Leisure, since 2002, but control is now due to transfer to the council by next April. Councillors in Neath Port Talbot approved funding for emergency repair work at the site last week, estimated to be worth around £141,000 over two years.
Work required includes the installation of vertical propping to beams and slabs around the perimeter of the training pool, propping to external retaining walls around the training pool, as well as vertical and horizontal propping to columns below spectator seating adjacent to the main pool.
The funding will allow the works to be carried out so that the well-used pool can be re-opened in January of 2023, however the repairs will only be a short term solution, with the work extending the life of the pool for a maximum of just two years.
Councillor Sean Pursey was at the emergency meeting on November 30, and said he had some concerns as to how the structure had been allowed to deteriorate to this extent.
He said: “Of particular concern I suppose is the fact that it appears some of the recommendations from the 2014 report are still outstanding in 2022, and though I’m not expecting answers today, as a member I’d like some reassurance or some explanation as to what’s happened in this case.”
Neath Port Talbot Council and Celtic Leisure have been contacted for comment.
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More accurately I guess, Corroding Columns, loose concrete… and jobsworth council managers who’ll be paid whether its open or closed regardless.