The council has been successful in being awarded a total grant of up to £10.9m from the Public Sector Decarbonisation scheme (PSDS) to carry out decarbonisation works at its largest carbon emitting buildings, including Ferry Pool.
This investment will help to deliver significant improvements to community facilities, reduce operating costs, improve the customer experience and invest in the lifespan of facilities that help to improve the wellbeing and life chances for Oxford communities and residents.
As part of this work, preliminary surveys were carried out in Ferry Leisure Centre, the main pool hall areas which were built in the 1970s, to see how the building could be upgraded to reduce its carbon emissions.
Asbestos debris was found in the pool plant room during intrusive surveys. The plant room heats the leisure centre’s swimming pool and powers its pump and filtration systems.
Immediately after the asbestos was discovered the plant room was sealed and staff have only entered if absolutely necessarily and while wearing full PPE equipment. The plant room is only accessible to staff, so the asbestos poses no risk to members of the public, the pool remains perfectly safe for swimmers and staff members.
The City Council has submitted a comprehensive risk assessment and plan of works to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They will undertake a thorough review of the documentation submitted before authorising works required.
Oxford City Council is giving advance warning of the need to temporarily close the swimming pool, to carry out the work and to enable the decarbonisation project to be successfully delivered.
The work, which will be carried out by experts in asbestos removal, is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete. The pools at Ferry Leisure Centre will need to be closed after swimming lessons conclude on Saturday 31 July.
All other facilities at Ferry Leisure Centre, including the gym, squash court and sports hall serviced by a second, unaffected plant roomwill remain open while the work is carried out Fusion Lifestyle are looking to relocate the Ferry swimming offer as feasibly as possible to other city pools and customers will be contacted and kept informed of these changes.
The City Council also operates Hinksey Outdoor Pool, and swimming pools at Barton Leisure Centre and Leys Pools and Leisure Centre. Members at Ferry Leisure Centre will be invited to use these pools during the closure.
“It is disappointing to have to temporarily close the swimming pools at Ferry Leisure Centre, particularly as the pandemic has limited people’s access to leisure and recreation facilities.
“The material was discovered as part of explorations into how we can reduce carbon emissions at Ferry Leisure Centre, something that needs to be done to reduce the carbon impact and secure the long-term future of the facility.
“All other facilities at Ferry Leisure Centre will remain fully open throughout the removal operation. Hinksey Outdoor Pool, and the pools at Barton Leisure Centre and the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre are also fully operational.
“We apologise for the inconvenience the pool closure will cause and want to reassure swimmers and staff at the centre that there is no risk to health associated with asbestos at the site.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism