While continuing to work closely with the community to find a long-term solution to keeping Jubilee Pool in Knowle open, Bristol City Council has committed to reopening the pool after lockdown until March 2022.
The pool has been unable to reopen since the beginning of the first COVID-19 lockdown in March last year. The pool not only needs investment, but the financial impact of COVID-19 coupled with the original reopening and running costs stipulated by the operators Parkwood Leisure, made it financially unviable.
After hearing the views of the local community, the council has negotiated and agreed a more cost-effective plan with Parkwood so the pool can stay open until next year when its contract runs out.
Until then, the council has pledged to continue working with interested groups to find a long-term solution for the pool.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It is clear that members of the local community feel strongly that Jubilee Pool should be kept open, so we have done all we can to reach an agreement with the operator so it can reopen after lockdown.
"With the immediate future of Jubilee Pool now secured, work must continue to make it financially sustainable in the long term. The future of the pool is dependent on finding a community-led solution, such as community asset transfer.
“Local people are without doubt best placed to increase the visitor numbers that the pool needs to sustain its future, as proven by the success of other community groups in Bristol.”
Jubilee Pool’s situation is sadly far from unique. Even before the latest national lockdown, over 200 pools across England were not expected to reopen due to the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic – including the Oasis centre in nearby Swindon.
Over half of swimming pools in similar cities were still closed, even before the latest national lockdown. Bristol managed to fund and reopen most of its swimming pools and even complete renovation works at South Bristol Pool, despite the immense challenges posed to the sector by the pandemic.
Following a Full Council debate in September 2020, Mayor Marvin Rees extended the public consultation on the pool’s future to give people more time to have their say. The Mayor also met with the Friends of Jubilee Pool and established a cross-party working group of councillors, asking for their recommendations as to the long-term future of Jubilee Pool.