By Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter
A leisure pool in Deptford at risk of not reopening is running at a deficit of about £400,000 per year, Lewisham Council has said.
Locals this week expressed dismay after it emerged that the Wavelengths leisure pool might be closed for good.
Wavelengths closed along with all other leisure facilities across the borough when the UK went into lockdown.
Before the pandemic the leisure centre offered a leisure pool with flumes, enjoyed by local children, and a 25-metre fitness pool.
The centre’s gym reopened in line with Government guidance this month – the fitness pool is not set to reopen until this summer as it is undergoing “significant repair works”.
But the leisure pool will remain closed, with no reopening date set – locals have said it would be “unacceptable” to keep it closed and deprive children of the space.
However, the council said the leisure pool “needs even more significant work” than the 25-metre one, with estimated repair costs of £700,000.
A Lewisham Council spokesperson told the local democracy service: “Wavelengths is an important community asset in Deptford.
“We have extensively upgraded Wavelengths over the past few months, spending over £300,000 at the centre, including the full retiling of the 25-metre pool to guarantee its life for the next 20 years.
“This pool will re-open this summer.
“The leisure pool also needs extensive investment to bring it back into operation – we estimate this will cost around £700,000.
“In addition, the leisure pool runs at a significant financial deficit due to very high utility bills because of the large water area and high ceilings in the pool hall. This loss is in the region of £400,000 a year.
“When making decisions about investments of this size, it’s important we speak to leisure users and the wider community to make sure we are funding facilities that will be well used and meet residents’ needs.”
The spokesperson said “no decisions will be made” until residents have been consulted about options for the leisure pool.
“If improvements to the second pool are made then the council will have to consider which funding streams are available to invest in the facility,” she added.
Earlier this week local group DeptfordFolk asked why CIL funding generated from development in the Evelyn ward could not be used to repair and reopen the pool – the council declined to comment specifically on this.
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