Brighton’s Prince Regent Swimming Complex could be forced to close down unless vital repairs are made to its air conditioning units.
With over 327,000 annual visitors coming to the complex each year the Prince Regent is amongst the cities most popular sporting facilities. The site contains a 25m competition pool, shallow pool, teaching pool, ‘flexi’ pool, gym, sauna and steam rooms all of which are used daily by the public throughout the year. However, a recent council report could put an end to the sites usage as it was found the air conditioning system in the complex was faulty and failure to replace it would mean the eventual closure of the site.
The complex was built at the start of the 1980s with the original air handling system still in place. The system is meant to ventilate air sufficiently to ensure the pool is safe for all users. An extract from the council report explained the fault in the ventilation system:
“During cold spells the required air temperature is not reached, which impacts negatively upon swimmers. In addition, without the right control over the air temperature and circulation, there is a danger that there could be damage to the fabric of the building. Currently, the existing system is vulnerable to a complete failure, which would lead to a closure of the facility.
The report will now be reviewed by Brighton and Hove City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee who will decide if they will fund works for repairs. It’s likely despite the estimated £728,000 bill required for repairs Brightonians will be hoping the panel approve this funding due to the extreme popularity of the site. If the panel finds funding, work may get under way at the end of the year with an expected completion date to be in the Spring of 2017. Many local residents have already called for the council to provide the needed regeneration funds but with budgets likely to be restricted due to the Brexit fallout we may be seeing the end of the Prince Regent Swimming Complex.
It would be a real shame for the site to close down particularly due to the cultural heritage associated with the complex and Brighton’s recent history. With the King Alfred Leisure Centre also in need of further regeneration the Prince Regent is one of few swimming pools located in central Brighton. The potential closure could have major repurcussions for the local community especially those under sixteen who are offered free swimming by the complex in an attempt to get youngsters more fit and active. It would be a massive blow to users of the site to lose th especially as it’s appreciated for being more than just a fitness centre but a part of Brighton’s recent cultural identity.