NORTHWICH Town Council has confirmed that Church Walk Paddling Pool will remain closed for the remainder of the year.

The reopening of the pool was discussed yesterday evening, Thursday, in the first virtual council meeting since lockdown started.

The popular facility was due to open from the beginning of May, after servicing, pool repairs and a deep clean had been completed.

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leisure attractions such as the paddling pool were forced closed and such preparation work was unable to be completed.

Before a vote was taken, town clerk Chris Shaw said: “With changes to government guidelines, outdoor swimming pools, paddling pools and water facilities were allowed to reopen from Saturday, July 11.

“We started planning the opening of our pool in early March, and this gave us adequate time to carry out works on the pool prior to opening in May.

“This included pump room servicing, pool service repairs and painting, painting of the shop, a deep clean of pool surrounds and toilets and staff recruitment and training.

“Due to current social distancing rules, we would only be allowed to have approximately 50 people in the pool at any one time.

Northwich Guardian:

“This would have to be managed by additional staff on the gate allowing visitors in and out and a ticket system would have to be introduced with pre-booked time slots throughout the day.

“Staffing would require one pool attendant to clean the pool, empty litter bins and clean toilets on a regular basis, leisure attendants in the kiosk, two members of staff monitoring people entering and leaving and taking details for NHS Test and Trace, additional office support for a booking system and security to prevent people from trying to enter the pool without a ticket.

“I have contacted other local pool operators and they will also be keeping their pools closed for the same reasons.”

When put to a vote, councillors unanimously agreed that the paddling pool remain closed for the remainder of the 2020 season, with increased safety measures in place for the 2021 season.

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Cllr Andrew Cooper added: “The paddling pool is a much-loved facility which is part of the fabric of Northwich.

“It breaks my heart to know we are not able to reopen it this year, but I can’t see how we could realistically reopen it safely while maintaining social distancing.

“Anyone who has been to the pool knows what it is like on a hot and sunny day, and this is not possible this year unfortunately.”