Update on Chard’s Cresta pool

After 30 years of service, Somerset County Council is intending to take a decision to close Cresta swimming pool in Chard at the end of the summer in the face of £1m repair and refurbishment costs.

A recent survey has estimated what needs to be spent to replace failing pumps and other essential equipment, as well as upgrading facilities to bring the pool up to standard.

With the current pressures on Somerset County Council’s finances – and with Cresta pool now at the end of its life –  the authority has announced its intention to close the pool at the end of the school holidays.

The county council will be working to support the partners in taking forward the exciting regeneration plans for Chard which were recently unveiled by South Somerset District Council. These include the potential for a new swimming pool amongst other leisure facilities.

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “Cresta pool has already outlived its expected life-span by well over a decade.

“Maintenance costs are escalating and major equipment now need replacing and we are not in a position to provide the funding now required to keep it open much longer.

“It’s reassuring that with the Chard regeneration plans new leisure facilities are in the pipeline and we thank 1610 for running the pool for us for the last 9 years.”

South Somerset District Council unveiled the Chard Regeneration proposals in June and the project is one of the Council’s priority projects. Proposed components could include a new leisure centre and swimming pool, alongside a blend of housing and commercial developments.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, South Somerset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment & Economic Development and Transformation, said: “We were aware that the Cresta Swimming Pool had exceeded its planned operational life which is why in considering the future needs of the town we included the potential for a new pool in our exciting Chard Regeneration scheme.

“Currently, it is planned to provide a swimming pool in the proposed leisure centre. As the detailed design of the leisure centre has not been agreed yet, it is not possible to say exactly when the new facility will be open. However, our aim is to provide a new centre within two years. This is subject to detailed design, costings, planning consent and a construction partner’s timeframe.”

Cllr Sylvia Seal, South Somerset District Council’s portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture said: “With Somerset County Council unfortunately having to take the decision to close Cresta at the end of the summer, we will do what we can to support groups and clubs to find temporary alternative venues in South Somerset.”

Cresta Pool has been run by 1610 Leisure Trust since 2009. 1610 will inform the users of the pool of the propose closure so that they can seek alternatives. In the meantime, the nearest alternatives are in Crewkerne and Axminster.

The pool was built in 1985 and designed to last around 20 years use but has outlived expectations and remained open for well over a decade more. The formal decision to close the pool is due to be taken in mid-August.