Saffron Walden swimming pool to reopen on September 1 but Dunmow pool stays shut for now

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 August 2020

Swimming pool. Picture: Pixabay.

Swimming pool. Picture: Pixabay.

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Saffron Walden’s swimming poool at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, September 1 - but Dunmow’s pool is staying closed for now.

The pool will initially only be available for Swim School sessions, lane swimming and selected clubs.

Operator 1Life runs both centres on behalf of Uttlesford District Council.

A spokeswoman said they had reopened swimming at Downham Leisure Centre in Lewisham as a pilot and are now reopening pools in a phased way.

“Lord Butler is a central leisure facility for the Uttlesford community, which is why it is the first to re-open.

“Based on the success of this, Great Dunmow will follow.”

The organisation said it does not have a date for the Dunmow pool to reopen.

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Saffron Seals chairman Steve Haynes said it was great the pool was reopening but the limited opening hours were frustrating - especially on weekends when they will open 7am to 3pm.

“We are delighted that 1Life are re-opening the pool on September 1 and look forward to working with them to implement a safe return to swimming for our members.

“However, we would really encourage 1Life to review their operating hours at the earliest opportunity, especially at weekends.”

Regular Dunmow swimmer Betty Baker said it was very disappointing the Dunmow pool is still shut. “If Saffron Walden can open, why not Dunmow?” she said.

Amanda Simmons, Dunmow Atlantis Swimming Club secretary, said she had heard the Dunmow pool would not reopen until October.

“The Riverside pool in Chelmsford has been open since August. Some of our members have been doing ad hoc swimming there. It makes no sense to us. We feel that Dunmow gets the short end of the stick every time.”

Each session at the Saffron Walden pool will be booked in advance. Changing rooms, showers and lockers will be limited. Pool users should arrive ready to swim and limit time in changing areas to a minimum. Cleaning schedules have been revised and 1Life staff will be conducting frequent cleaning checks.

Swim England research found almost a quarter of public pools across remain shut – after they were allowed to reopen on 25 July. Chief executive Jane Nickerson said the situation is “extremely disappointing” and she has reiterated her plea to Government for more financial support to help facilities reopen as part of the #SaveLeisure campaign.


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