Asbestos in leisure centre roof pushes back £2m revamp project

Peterlee Leisure Centre, which is also to become home to the town's library, pictured before the work began.
Peterlee Leisure Centre, which is also to become home to the town's library, pictured before the work began.

Asbestos removal from a leisure centre’s roof has pushed back the completion date of a £2 million-plus redevelopment by months.

Work at Peterlee Leisure Centre had been due to be finished by the autumn of this year, but is now expected to come to a close by next spring.

This unavoidable delay means all work is expected to be finished by spring 2019.

Su Lewis

Durham County Council had said in March that the project was on schedule, with the completion date pushed back after it discovered the task of removing asbestos found in the building’s roof would be greater than first thought.

The roof maintenance at the leisure centre was already part of the work when the issues involving he asbestos were established.

The council has said the need to remove the materials will not add to the cost of the work.

The revamp work includes refurbishing its changing rooms and creating a new reception, with the swimming pool reopen to visitors following a period where it was set from September to January while demolition work was carried out at the front of the building and while temporary changing areas were set up.

A new sauna is also being installed within the pool complex after calls from customers left angry when the old one was to be scraped from elsewhere in the building.

The redevelopment also involves moving the library into the St Cuthbert’s Way site after the old reference and lending service in Esssington Way was knocked down as it was connected to the former East Durham College campus.

The land has been cleared by Tesco - which made a deal with the council over the library site - as it looks to market the plot to a new owner after it decided to axe plans for a new superstore.

A temporary library has been opened at the leisure centre in the meantime.

Su Lewis, projects and transitions manager at the council, said: “While carrying out the work at Peterlee Leisure Centre, we discovered the extent of asbestos removal was greater than originally expected and this has led to the planned completion date being pushed back.

“This unavoidable delay means all work is expected to be finished by spring 2019.

“However, in the meantime, the pool will remain in operation albeit on a limited basis and all other services will remain open to the public as usual.

“Since the temporary library opened in December the facility has been well used.

“Throughout January, over 8,000 books were issued, and public access computer usage has remained high.”