Emergency demolition work is to take place at Elland Pool.
Severe structural deterioration at the historic former swimming baths means that Calderdale Council is taking immediate action to demolish the building due to safety concerns.
An inspection by council officers last week showed that the eastern gable wall, overlooking Huddersfield Road, is continuing to move and raising concerns for the safety of the public.
Scaffolding teams have moved in to start work on taking down the building.
The council had to close the pool in December 2011 due to serious structural defects, and has continued to regularly monitor the building. These ongoing inspections, together with independent engineer reports, have shown gradual movement of the wall, caused in part by defects in the pool floor.
However, since the last inspection in May the wall has deteriorated rapidly, moving a further 4mm in just eight weeks. This is considered to be due to the recent spell of hot, dry weather.
There are serious concerns that the wall could become unstable, so urgent action is being carried out to take down the highest part of the gable together with the adjacent roof to remove the immediate danger. Once this has been done, the rest of the building will be demolished as it does not have a viable future and estimates suggest a cost of at least £1 million to repair.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Clr Barry Collins, said: “Whilst this is unfortunate news, we have no other option but to demolish the building. We have carried out regular checks and there has been considerable deterioration since our last visit in May.
“Safety is our top priority. The condition of the wall is deteriorating rapidly, and if we don’t act straight away people could be in serious danger. Once the urgent demolition works have been completed, we will be consulting with the community to develop ideas for the future of the site”.
Elland Pool is over 100 years old and has been run by Calderdale Council since 1974. There is a war memorial at the base of the gable wall of the building, which will be salvaged and relocated.
Local swimmers set up a campaign to try and save the pool but had to admit defeat.
The Elland Baths Community Association said the costs to bring the pool back into use were too high and the group will now focus on fighting for a new pool for the town.
Julian Robertshaw, secretary of the Save Elland Baths campaign, spoke of the group’s disappointment and said: “It has been more than two years between inspections and two years ago we thought £400,000 would do it, but there’s been deterioration and it’s been a slow process and at the second inspection there was more that needed doing.
“We were raising £200,000 and getting match funding for the £400,000, but the costs went up and it became outside our reach.”
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