Campaigners call again for rethink as revised plans for Kenilworth swimming pools are recommended for approval

Left: The site of the swimming pool development. Right: Members of the Get it Done Right group collecting signatures for their petition.Left: The site of the swimming pool development. Right: Members of the Get it Done Right group collecting signatures for their petition.
Left: The site of the swimming pool development. Right: Members of the Get it Done Right group collecting signatures for their petition.
Councillors have been advised to approve the new plans after building was halted in the summer

Revised plans for two new swimming pools in Kenilworth have been recommended for approval - but a campaign group is once again calling for a last minute rethink ahead of this week's decision.

Building on the new leisure complex on Abbey Fields was halted in the summer after medieval remains were found at the site, so council officers proposed changes to the scheme.

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And now a report to Warwick District Council's cabinet advises councillors to approve these alterations on Thursday (November 2) and allow work to continue. The full council would need to formally sign off the proposal on November 15 but the cabinet decision is expected to be approved.

However, protest group Get it Done Right, a group of concerned Kenilworth residents, are asking the council once again to consider a different path, ahead of this Thursday's cabinet meeting.

The changes to the development have already led to a huge overspend and council officers said that moving it to another site will just add many more millions of pounds to that bill.

But campaigners, who made their voices heard at a recent public meeting, believe the council is making a 'big mistake' by building on Abbey Fields - and on top of the historic remains. A signature to stop the work currently stands at more than 2,500 signatures.

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Clive Peacock, from Get it Done Right, said: "Why build a complex on the flood plain which is Abbey Fields with the recent devastation caused by Storm Babet uppermost in many people's minds? This is one important decision facing those about to take a very difficult decision about the future of swimming in Kenilworth and the district.

"It would be too easy to just say "let's get it done" at an enormous cost and without thinking through the alternative options.

"The group believes there are other options which could cost significantly less, be far better environmentally and offer substantially improved access for those of all abilities, disabilities, ages and preferences (including those whose disabilities are not physical)."

The group is now asking for an independent review of all the options, to be completed within a three month time-scale using an independent team.

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A public meeting, hosted by WDC and Kenilworth Town Council, WDC’s project leader Padraig Herlihy said all the main details of the design will remain the same as the original application - which includes a main 25-metre swimming pool, a sun terrace, a second 15-metre indoor family pool and a café and reception.

The project was initially set to cost an estimated £14.7 million but with the changes - which include raising the building’s foundations to protect the medieval remains - it could now rise to up to £22.6 million.

Mr Herlihy pointed out that moving the project to a new site could make the overall cost £26.7 million – an increase of £12 million on the original estimate with a predicted completion time of spring 2028.

The report for cabinet also says that starting again with a new site would cause a significant delay and bring added risks to the development.

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Speaking before the cabinet meeting, Cllr Ian Davison, leader of Warwick District Council said: “Councillors have a difficult, but clear choice to make as to whether we go ahead with this project or not. Should they agree to continue, they must decide the maximum price the council is prepared to pay and close monitoring will be needed to ensure that this is not exceeded.”