Pontardawe swimming pool set to close later this year due to 'significant structural weaknesses'

Pontardawe swimming pool
Pontardawe swimming pool -Credit:Pontardawe Pool

Neath Port Talbot Council has said Pontardawe swimming pool could be permanently closed this year due to "significant structural weaknesses" discovered at the site. Members of the authority's cabinet will be asked to meet on May 8 to approve a "planned closure" of the facility at the end of August this year on the grounds of public safety.

It comes after the pool was closed in November 2022 following the discovery of serious defects relating to a void around the training pool and columns under spectator seating as well as the deterioration of structural concrete in pool tank walls and external walls. Get the best user experience with WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

It was later re-opened in January 2023 after temporary repair work estimated to be worth around £141,000 was carried out though it was highlighted at the time that this would only last for a maximum of two years. However it seems the lifespan of the pool could now be at an end sooner than anticipated with further deterioration of the reinforced concrete noted by building experts and long-term repairs deemed "economically un-viable".

READ MORE: Inconsiderate parking stops bin lorries getting down streets and leaves residents 'swimming in rubbish'

READ MORE: Parents are trying to buy this school before it is turned to rubble

A council spokesman said: "Building experts Arup identified significant structural weaknesses within the 50-year-old pool’s concrete structure in 2022 and advised the building had a maximum two-year lifespan even with the substantial propping works that took place at the time. However in January this year further deterioration of the reinforced concrete was noted and at their meeting on May 8, 2024, members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s cabinet will be recommended to approve closure at the end of August 2024. Repairing the existing building is economically un-viable and the mechanical and electrical services throughout the facility have also reached end of life."

They added that those at the meeting will also be asked to approve a feasibility study into providing a new pool for the area, which is currently estimated to cost between £10-12m. They said: "The feasibility study will look at potential external funding sources and examine any suitable locations and the future facility mix in Pontardawe for a replacement pool."

Martyn Goss has two children who attend a local swimming club in Pontardawe and said the closure of popular facility would be a big loss to the community. He said: "The situation is going to be a huge inconvenience to us and a lot of others long-term if we're going to have to go to Neath or Ystradgynlais to use the pool.

"Everything's up in the air now and we don't know what's going to happen with the club. Hopefully there will be another pool built in the future but with the funding situation as it is I just don't know where that will come from."

Labour leader for Neath Port Talbot Rob Jones also commented on the situation saying that overturned plans by the former Labour-run council for a new £22m school based in Pontardawe, which included a new pool, could result in the area losing the facility altogether.

He said: "We had a plan to incorporate a brand-new pool into a brand-new school. This decision was later overturned by the coalition council and the 'no school, no pool' issue we've predicted is now coming to fruition."

Moving forward the authority says the planned closure should give enough time to complete the pool's summer programme as well as redeploying staff and users. However with plans for regular reviews now scheduled at the site it has been acknowledged that an "earlier, urgent closure might be needed". For the latest Neath Port Talbot news sign up to our newsletter here.