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Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre swimming pool finally set to reopen

Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre (Pic: Google Maps)

SWIMMING pools at a leisure centre in a Valleys town which have been closed for more than four years are finally set to reopen.

It’s been announced that the pools at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre, which has been closed since December 2019, will reopen on Saturday, May 25.

The £5 million refurbishment has been funded by investment by the council, Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Programme, and Salix Finance.

It will include a main 25m swimming pool with six lanes, a teaching pool, a splash pool with interactive water play and refurbished changing facilities.

In the announcement on Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre’s Facebook page, it said that the pools have been closed for several years so there will be a gentle “soft” launch in terms of the reopening and timetable to allow them to get back into the swing of things.

The phase one timetable will run from Saturday, May 25 to Sunday, June 2 where early morning swim for fitness sessions (lane swimming) and family time are available across the three pools with people needing a £1 coin or a token for the lockers.

Those with a monthly or annual membership with Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre or Aberfan Community Centre  have swimming as part of their membership and they can use the pools at the leisure centre for no extra charge.

The pools are open to non-members with an adult swim being £4.50 per session, under 18s and over 60s being £3 per session and children aged 0-3 and spectators going free of charge.

People don’t need to book but the sessions are available on a first come first served basis. Sessions last one hour and 15 minutes and there is an on-site cafe and free on-site parking.

Leisure facilities have recently returned to the council from the leisure trust – Wellbeing Merthyr – and the council has brought in the social enterprise Halo to run leisure services, including the pool, on its behalf.

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The swimming pool  closed in December 2019 due to water leaks affecting the concrete and causing tiles to lift off.

Early in 2020, as the building owner, the council commissioned a number of surveys to try to find the root cause of the issue and see what work needed to take place.

Wellbeing Merthyr (Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust)  then told the authority of its plans to redevelop the entire leisure centre including the pools.

The Covid lockdown hampered the work due to a tools and equipment shortage and further structural issues were discovered so more investigatory work was required than originally thought. A redevelopment of the pool was due to be completed in autumn 2023 including a 25m six-lane main pool, a dedicated teaching pool, a leisure pool with interactive water play and refurbished changing facilities.

In January 2024 the council said it had no choice but to go out to the leisure sector to find an alternative provider to manage the newly-refurbished Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre for an interim period. This exercise resulted in three well-established leisure providers applying for the interim leisure operations contract to manage Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Wellbeing Merthyr spent a year presenting a number of redevelopment options for Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre all of which were deemed not adequate for a facility of that size and scope and the council said this resulted in it deciding to take the lead, securing finance from Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns and Salix funding programmes, as well as commissioning Alliance Leisure to design and manage a fit for purpose redevelopment of the facility. In February 2024 the swimming pool facility was handed back to the council.

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