Birmingham Community Leisure Trust and Birmingham City Council have today confirmed that swimming pools at Northfield Leisure Centre will NOT reopen until after the current building’s demolition and redevelopment, after a chlorine resistant bug was found in the water.
The gym will remain open until 22nd July, when the building will close for an £8 million rebuild.
The pool was closed for cleaning on 14th June after a child defecated in the training pool and microbiology tests on the water and filtering systems were carried out.
Chlorine resistant parasite
Tests on samples from the small teaching pool have now returned positive for cryptosporidium, a parasite which is resistant to chlorine and can cause severe diarrhoea alongside other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fever. Most people recover from symptoms well by drinking plenty of fluids, but those with weakened immune systems may suffer complications.
The tests were carried out as a precaution after cryptosporidium was found at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre in Kings Heath in May, closing their pool for over a month. There have been no known cases of illness linked to Northfield.
‘Not an easy decision’
Brian Taylor, Chairman for Birmingham Community Leisure Trust said: “This was not an easy decision to make but, having estimated it would take at least five weeks, and potentially in excess of one hundred thousand pounds, to restore the water quality, it just doesn’t make sense to invest this time and money. This is compounded when considering that the pools would only be open for perhaps a couple of weeks after the works before the building was due to close to be demolished to make way for the new leisure centre. We apologise to all those inconvenienced by this decision and will be contacting all our customers about alternative provision.
“While Northfield Leisure Centre will close its doors slightly earlier than expected, when it reopens in spring 2018 residents will be able to enjoy a fantastic, modern facility with enhanced health, fitness and community provision, which will also help support wider regeneration in the local area.”
Northfield Leisure Centre is set to close fully in September to be demolished to make way for a new facility on the site. A planning application has been presented to Birmingham City Council for the rebuild, which it is hoped will be completed by April 2018.
The facility will include a 6 lane 25m pool, a learner pool, changing facilities, a fitness suite, a dance studio and a community room.
Plans can be viewed and commented on until 14th July 2016.
Alternative facilities and lessons
A spokesperson for BCLT said: “The Trust will be offering existing customers the opportunity to transfer their membership to another Birmingham Community Leisure Trust facility while Northfield is closed. Any existing Northfield members moving to another site will be guaranteed no price increase on their membership or swimming lesson fees till June 2018. Customers who have paid for swimming lessons at Northfield will be reimbursed for cancelled sessions and offered alternative classes at either Cocks Moors Woods or other facilities in the local area.”
Forty-two staff members who work at Northfield will be temporarily seconded to other Birmingham Community Leisure Trust sites across the city until the new building opens.