CHARD’S former swimming pool won’t be demolished until April at the earliest, according to the county council.

Somerset County Council decided in July to close the Cresta Leisure Centre on Zembard Lane, stating it could no longer afford to maintain the facility.

Despite the best efforts of the Kingfisher Community Pool Group to keep the pool open, the council rejected the group’s business case in September and confirmed it would be demolishing the building in January 2019.

But this demolition will now not take place until the next financial year as the council finalises details of when it will take place and how much it will cost.

Councillor Amanda Broom, who was instrumental in setting up the Kingfisher group, requested an update on the pool at the full council’s budget-setting meeting in Taunton on February 20.

She asked: “What is the current status of the Chard Cresta pool in comparison to the council’s initial planned dates? If there is a discrepancy between the two, can this be explained?”

Councillor David Hall, portfolio holder for economic development, planning and community infrastructure, responded: “The pool has been decommissioned as planned.

“Our property services team is currently exploring the options re. demolition. Holyrood Academy has said it is not suitable for conversion [to a different kind of leisure facility].”

The council confirmed the school, which is adjacent to the former pool, was reimbursing the authority for ongoing utility costs for the decommissioned facility.

A spokesman said: “We’re still working on the plans for the demolition but it’s unlikely to start this financial year.

“There are some utility costs, but these are mostly linked to the ‘dry-side’ of the facility. This was taken on by the school and the school is reimbursing us

“£234,000 has been set-aside from the leisure budget in 2019/20 to cover any residual costs at the end of the contract. We haven’t got detailed costs of the demolition, but it will be within this.”

South Somerset District Council has promised to deliver a new swimming pool and leisure centre for the people of Chard by the end of 2020, as part of its much-trumpeted Chard Regeneration Scheme.

The county council has no direct role in this scheme, but said it was “very happy” with the proposals for the new pool and associated facility.

The district council indicated it would submit a planning application for the former ACI site, where the leisure centre and pool will be constructed, in June or July, with major leisure funding bids being in place by September.

If permission is granted, the existing buildings will be demolished in November or December, after which construction can begin.