STOCKTON: “No-one to blame” for Splash problems, says leader
Splash leisure centre, Stockton, Church Road. Image from Google Street View. No attribution required
“No-one is to blame” for the structural troubles facing a Teesside leisure centre, a council leader has said.
Stockton’s Splash will be razed in the coming years with a replacement lined up on the High Street.
Problems with its fibreglass flumes and changing areas have seen officials calculate its repair bill would top £5m, which would have left a hole in Stockton Council’s coffers.
But Cllr Ted Strike asked how a 21-year-old complex could get into such a bad state on Wednesday night.
He added: “Where would the money have come from if we had not bought Dunedin House and “saved” £24m?”
Council bosses scrapped plans to create a new headquarters for council staff on Stockton High Street after Thornaby’s Dunedin House became available.
A new £15m leisure facility has been earmarked for the High Street once the Castlegate shopping centre is demolished – featuring modern pool facilities, a gym and studios, and flexible spaces for therapeutic rehabilitation.
Leader Cllr Bob Cook said there would have been budget pressures in future if they hadn’t opted for a new facility.
But Cllr Strike wanted to know why Splash’s structural problems “hadn’t been brought to members’ attention”.
“The building had an extension just over 10 years ago,” he said.
“Can the cabinet member advise me who is to blame for this maintenance failing?
“Would it be the builders, or is it lack of maintenance from Stockton Council?”
Splash first opened in 2001 after it was transformed from the old Stockton Swimming Pool.
It doubled in size after a refurbishment in 2008 and 2009.
Cllr Cook said the council inspected its buildings regularly – but conceded it was something they may need to look at in future on similar types of structure.
“The flumes themselves apparently need to be changed after a certain number of years because of the life of them,” he added.
“There is no-one to blame.
“We inspect our buildings on a regular basis and do regular maintenance on them.
“This is an opportunity we looked at because of the new waterfront area (coming) when we demolish the Castlegate.”
The Castlegate centre is due for demolition next year.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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