£1m revamp plan for Walsall Gala Baths

A new water flume, more play features and an expanded fitness suite could form part of a £1 million revamp of an outdated leisure centre, it emerged today.

Walsall Gala Baths
Walsall Gala Baths

A unisex changing area, competition pool and reduced depth of the main pool are also among a package of proposals drawn up for Walsall Gala Baths.

Walsall Council agreed to carry out a full cost review of investing in the Tower Street site. It came after a 2,000-name petition was submitted in support of the venue by campaigners who feared it could face closure.

Council bosses say the proposals are only suggestions at this stage as they would be subject to funding, at a time when they need to save £19m alone in the next financial year.

The ideas drawn up by officers include reducing the maximum depth of the main pool from 4.3m to 2m which would cut the costs of heating, electricity and water circulation. It would see the diving boards taken out.

Around £370,000 could be invested in replacing the male and female changing rooms with an improved unisex ‘village’ including sauna and steam rooms.

The fitness suite with 30 stations would rise to 50, increasing the number of members from 630 to more than a 1,000, generating an additional £51,000 a year.

A closed-tube flume running from the existing spectator seating has also been proposed for the main pool. And the smaller Brine Pool may be suitable for more play features including tipping buckets, showers, water wheels and interactive play panels.

Funding will need to be secured for the ambitious project.

Council leader Mike Bird said the authority had resolved to look at £1m improvements but they were just suggestions at this stage.

Comments for: "£1m revamp plan for Walsall Gala Baths"

Martacus Redd

Maybe if a few executives had a pay cut or the council didn't use so many consultative firms on projects that go nowhere or stop lowering the speed limit to 20MPH in certain areas, maybe, just maybe they could raise a million quid.

Mrs Ivy Trellis

Jag for the Mayor, New Swimming Pool - Where do these buffoons think that the money is coming from? Perhaps Mr Bird's 'Suggestions' should stay as such for the time being.

WBPete

I saw nothing in the article about a new Jaguar for the Mayor? Perhaps you were reading a different article, mistaken or just being flippant? It clearly states the pool is being refurbished after a petition by over 2000 people. Its good that the council are responsive to the requests of its residents. As a user of the pool, I can say it did need a refurb if it was to continue to attract people. Considering how beneficial the leisure center is to public health, this is a no brainer.

The council has a number of ways it can fund it, increase the council tax or reduce expenditure elsewhere. I suggest the latter, there is still plenty or room for cuts.

Personally, I think they should consider privatizing it. I see no reason why the pool needs to be run by the council, private leisure companies run pools, let them run it and pick up the maintenance bill. We might even get a brand new pool and more facilities as a result.

the.mr.martin

Take no notice of WBPete, he's obviously been under a rock for a couple of weeks; almost everyone in Walsall knows about the new Jag (which apparently spends much of its time sitting in the depot yard at Brownhills but is hidden near the back so nobody sees it as they pass by on the bus).

While it's nice to think the council listens to its residents, this would be a first for Walsall - the council is notorious for carrying out 'consultations' and then ignoring the results if they don't comply with the officers' view, you only need to look at the last few years' budget consultations to see some examples.

the.mr.martin

It's that magic word 'could' again.

The Gala 'could' get a makeover, the Council 'could' make efficiency savings, the Leader 'could' talk sense, the senior officers 'could' take a pay cut.

Pigs 'could' fly.

WBPete

As it happens Mr Martin I have been away for the past three weeks, for work., so I took this story in isolation. No need for the flippancy.

I don’t believe it alters the point I was making. Refurbing the baths or at least investigating the possibility after a public petition demanding as much is no bad idea – both from a democratic point of view and public health.

Bognop

Walsall Council and democracy - must be an oxymoron