Forres swimmers left with no pool for five months

£800k improvement programme to start from Monday
£800k improvement programme to start from Monday

FORRES RESIDENTS WHO have invested in Moray Council’s ‘FitLife’ scheme are less than happy over the closure of their local swimming pool for up to five months.

This pool is being closed from Monday to allow essential upgrading to be carried out, with Moray Council pointing out that the Forres facility is using equipment that is over 30 years old and “inefficient in terms of energy use”.

At Moray Council this week Heldon & Laich councillor John Cowe pointed out that already a large number of bookings for the use of the pool at Lossiemouth is coming from Forres swimming clubs and fitness groups – placing additional pressure on a facility that Councillors were told would not be replaced when a new High School is built in the town.

While accepting that the work needs to be done, many residents are unhappy that they are paying a monthly FitLife subscription and yet will have to travel to other towns throughout the summer to use it – often at additional expense and using expensive public transport.

Work on the Forres pool is the beginning of a rolling programme of work on pools that will also be undertaken at Speyside, Lossiemouth and Buckie over a four to five year period.

New boilers will be installed as will solar thermal panels and new heating, lighting and data systems, new water filtration systems will be part of the upgrade work. The building itself will see new insulation put in place along with high-performance doors and windows.

The total cost of the Forres upgrades was quoted at £800,000 last year when the improvement programme was confirmed. At the time local councillor Aaron McLean admitted that closing the facility for 20 weeks was “not ideal”.

He said: “The works should provide substantial improvements to the building and savings that will happen.”

The much-used adjoining Hydrotherapy Pool will remain open throughout the refurbishment although temporary changing facilities are being put in place. Pool Trustee Ken Smith said: “We are anxious that people know we are staying open for the entire five months.

“This provides an opportunity for people who maybe have not experienced hydrotherapy before to get an induction and give it a try.”