THE summer holidays started with a splash in Royal Wootton Bassett as the swimming pool opened for the first time since 2010.
Dozens of children flocked to the Lime Kiln Leisure Centre yesterday as the pool re-opened with free swimming to young people under the age of 16 during the holidays.
The pool, which closed after a fire at the leisure centre in December 2010, has been re-opened while a proposed state-of-the-art community campus is developed.
Nick Moran, area manager for DC Leisure, said: “It is brilliant to have the pool open again.
“The last 20 months have seen the centre not getting as many customers by a long distance.
“Looking at how many people have come for the first day is a testament to how much the community have missed swimming.”
It was decided at the Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade Area Board meeting in May to reopen the pool.
“The timing couldn’t be better, it’s the first day of the summer holidays. The pool will stay open until the future of the campus proposals are decided,” said Nick.
“We have restarted our swimming lesson programme. Prior to the closure there were 400 children in the swimming lesson programme. We have now got to build up from nothing.”
Repairs, which cost about £100,000, have also been made to the changing rooms, plant room, heating and ventilation equipment and smoke damaged areas.
Unexpected repairs had to be carried out by underwater divers on Sunday after engineers from Kier found that 100 tiles were loose at the bottom of the pool.
An intiative between Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire means young people under the age of 16 will be able to swim for free during the school holidays.
Area board chairman, Peter Doyle, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to reopen the pool for the community while the campus proposal is being progressed, which the council is fully committed to.
“Given the amount of time that is going to take we wanted to ensure that the public had access to swimming facilities. We have spent a minimal amount of money to repair the damage.
“The public won’t notice a difference to the pool area but behind the scenes there is some damage that hasn’t been repaired. The jacuzzi and the sauna have not been repaired but they are sealed off,” he said.
“We envisage that the repairs that have been done should have a lifespan of three or four years.”
Melanie Jackson, of Royal Wootton Bassett, was at the pool with her children Shannon, 13, and Samuel, nine.
“For over a year we have had nothing. We had to travel to Swindon and we didn’t go as much,” she said.
“The children have really been looking forward to the opening. It’s brilliant because they have got the summer holidays now and this is somewhere for them to come.”
For a timetable visit dcleisurecentres.co.uk/centres/lime-kiln-leisure-centre.