05 August | 06:21:30
Scotland's Student Newspaper
Commonwealth pool facing two-year closure
Local residents forced to swim elsewhere during refurbishment work
Amy Magowan Greene
Monday, 23 March, 2009 | 12:00
Credit: William Kemsley

The Royal Commonwealth Pool is to close for two years as part of a major refurbishment project. The popular Edinburgh Leisure facility will close 28 June 2009, meaning that regular users, including students at the University of Edinburgh's Pollock Halls accommodation, will be forced to look elsewhere.

The refurbishment, according to planners, will extend and update current facilities, meaning a larger gym and better changing facilities, as well as refreshed reception area and café. When the pool reopens—projected to be summer 2011—the facility will also boast a new 25 metre teaching pool and 25 metre diving pool, both with moveable floors.

However, some concerns have been raised over alternative facilities during the closure, and Edinburgh Leisure has admitted that users may face problems. Their website reads: “We would like to run a learn-to-dive programme from another pool, however, with limited diving boards and pools of sufficient depth in Edinburgh, we do not yet know if it will be possible.”

Edinburgh Council hopes that the new facilities will be able to help Glasgow’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth games. Edinburgh Leisure have also said that athletes training for the games will receive support, and that alternative facilities will be provided.

Staff at the Commonwealth Pool have insisted that the closure has been well publicised for a number of months.

However, officials appeared doubtful whether any posters had been put up in nearby Pollock halls to publicise the closure, although they insisted that there are many other council leisure facilities across Edinburgh which will provide the necessary services for members whilst the Royal Commonwealth is closed.

Swimming memberships cost £26.50 per month as well as a £35 joining fee. Students can also choose to purchase a £15 leisure card qualifying for discounted prices of £2 per swim.

Warrender Swim Centre is the closest Edinburgh Leisure facility to the Commonwealth. However, the 23m pool is a step-down in size from the 50m facility available at the Commonwealth, meaning that serious swimmers will need to look further afield for services. The Journal also understands that there will be redundancies across Edinburgh Council Leisure facilities in the next months, making an extension of opening hours or facilities highly unlikely.

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