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Guildford’s Swimming and Paddling Pools Remain Closed

Published on: 15 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 17 Jul, 2020

In 2016 the refurbished paddling pool in Stoke Park was reopened by the then Mayor of Guildford, Nikki Nelson-Smith.

Despite a government announcement that outdoor pools can open it has been confirmed that the paddling pool at Stoke Park will remain closed.

In a Guildford Borough Council press release, lead councillor for the Environment, James Steel (Lib Dem, Westborough) said: “We are sorry to confirm that although the government now allows outdoor pools to open we are unable to open our paddling pool at Stoke Park this summer. We know how much you love our borough’s popular free attraction and we have not taken this decision lightly.

The decision was taken after a review of the guidance and safety measures required for the regularly crowded area around the pool found the risk to health and the extra costs too high.

Cllr James Steel

Cllr Steel continued: “Due to the open area surrounding the pool we cannot ensure the necessary Coronavirus (Covid 19) secure environment to keep you and our staff safe without incurring substantial extra costs of around £23,000 on top of running costs for what is now the last 5-6 weeks of the season.

“At this point in the pandemic, where we have already set aside an emergency budget of £15million to ensure we can maintain your essential services, we are unable to justify this additional spend which is needed to adhere to government requirements to control visitor numbers, as we would need additional staff, ticketing and site security measures.”

The Guildford Lido, operated by Freedom Leisure, also remains closed but there are signs that a re-opening is planned. On its Facebook page, it said on July 10: “Dear swimmers. We have been bombarded with messages in relation to the recent news published yesterday 9th July. We will not be opening tomorrow, 11th July but we do hope to follow up with an announcement soon.

The Guildford Lido

And on its website it said: “We are delighted to be reopening some of our centres in England on 25 July and are working closely with all of our local authority partners to establish which sites we can open on the 25 July or soon thereafter.

“Although not all our centres will open straight away, we have worked hard to ensure that our centres provide a safe environment for customers to return. This includes changes to activity programmes and the introduction of compulsory booking systems to support the requirement to manage capacity, adhere to social distancing measures and provide ample time to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness.

“To support the crucial ‘track and trace’ protocol we will be collecting contact details for all customers for whom we don’t have information and checking the accuracy of those that we do.”

But there is no sign that indoor facilities such as Spectrum Leisure Centre will be opening. On March 20 it Tweeted: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform our loyal and supportive customers that Guildford Spectrum will now be closed for the foreseeable future. Its Twitter and Facebook accounts have not been updated since.”

Cllr Steel concluded: “Please rest assured your safety, protecting our vulnerable communities and maintaining your essential services remain our priority – the Coronavirus (Covid 19) hasn’t gone away and we must keep to the guidance and keep Guildford safe to avoid any health protection lockdowns that other areas of the UK have experienced.”

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