Learner pool at Dereham closed again

IAN CLARKE The learner pool at the new £8.9m Dereham Leisure Centre has been shut for a second time in a month after continued problems with floor tiles.The children's pool was first closed in early July after about 15 youngsters suffered cuts and bruises to their feet caused by the tiles.

IAN CLARKE

The learner pool at the new £8.9m Dereham Leisure Centre has been shut for a second time in a month after continued problems with floor tiles.

The children's pool was first closed in early July after about 15 youngsters suffered cuts and bruises to their feet caused by the tiles.

It was reopened about two weeks later, after it was drained and a detailed inspection was carried out by the builders, tile sub-contractors and Breckland Council and no faults were found.

But further minor injuries have been reported and yesterday Breckland announced the pool was to be shut for a further two weeks.

It will have to be emptied again and the tiles will be made smoother - while ensuring they remain non-slip.

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Other pools in other parts of the country have had similar problems and the issue is being referred to the Health and Safety Executive.

The latest closure is fresh embarrassment to the council and operator Breckland Leisure, especially as it comes in the middle of the summer holidays and as it follows a catalogue of problems at the centre since it opened earlier this year.

Breckland Council said the temperature in the main pool would be increased to make it suitable for younger swimmers and a spokesman stressed the shallow end was the same depth as the learner pool.

In a statement, Steve Askew, the council's executive member responsible for leisure, said: "We regret that it is necessary to close the learner pool - especially during the school holidays.

"However, public safety is paramount and action is necessary to reduce the degree of tile roughness while maintaining some slip-resistant qualities."

Patrick Rendall, project manager of Breckland Leisure, added: "This problem is not confined to Dereham and the issue we have experienced with the tiles will be reported to professional bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive."

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