Stage 1 Upgrade of Pool and Plant Room Systems
Stage 1 of the pool upgrade programme comprised strengthening and re-rendering the pool structure, tiling the whole pool for the first time, plus a substantial upgrade of the plant room systems (filters, pumps, pipework, skimmers, chemical water treatment), to increase the rate of water flow and thereby help enhance water quality and efficiency of pool maintenance.
This was successfully completed by July 2020 and the pool re-opened, following partial lifting of the covid restrictions, on 1 August 2020.
Stage 2 Rebuild Changing Rooms planning
Work to plan for the rebuilding of the changing rooms, as the second stage of the pool upgrade project continued during 2020. This is much needed, given the poor state of repair of the old wooden changing rooms. Initial plans for the redesign sought to preserve the existing, traditional style of wooden changing cubicles with multi-coloured doors, raised up to pool level, whilst incorporating a dedicated changing room for disabled swimmers, ramps to improve disabled access to the pool, new toilet facilities, a better signing-in office and improved, secure chemical and other storage facilities.
These plans received planning permission from Guildford Borough Council during 2020. A specification of requirements for contractors has been added to the plans in readiness for proceeding with an invitation to tender to a range of local building contractors, in early 2021. Initial indications, from one building services suppliers are that the cost might be in the order of £95,000 to complete the works, although this is still subject to the receipt and evaluation of competitive bids, so might be reduced.
Possible replacement of gas boilers and addition of an air source heat pump
Investigation is also currently under way to consider whether there might be justifiable benefits to replacing the existing gas boilers, for heating the pool, with a more efficient combination of a new boiler and an air source heat pump (ASHP). It is thought that this might provide a better way to now keep the pool heated to the minimum temperature required throughout the winter months, to ensure that the new tiles are protected from any danger from freezing cold weather.
Use of an ASHP might also facilitate extending the swimming season from April to October, or for even longer, as well as substantially reducing the carbon emissions from heating the pool each year. An initial proposal has been received from PPE Ltd. (the main contractor for the Stage 1 project) to provide and fit all the new equipment for £18,000 (including VAT). This and any alternative proposals now need evaluating. This would be funded once funding has been finalised for Stage 2.
After paying for all Stage 1 costs and the positive financial outcome from the restricted 2020 swimming season, the club has £18,000 of funds still available and which can be assigned to help fund Stage 2 (leaving a cash reserve of £6,000). To this can be added a further grant of £25,000 agreed with Sport England. In addition, Shere Parish Council has agreed to provide an interest free loan of £20,000, repayable over five years. So this makes a sub-total of £63,000 available.
To this can be added £4,000 already pledged in additional donations from members and around £9,000 recoverable in Gift Aid. Increased member subscriptions in 2021 should add a further £7,000 to revenues, increasing the total funds likely to be available to £83,000. This would leave a current shortfall against the estimated £95,000 Stage 2 costs of £12,000 and, if the £18,000 estimated costs of the new heating systems are added in leaves a combined shortfall of £30,000.
It is possible that some of the shortfall might be met if there is an additional surplus from operating the pool in 2021, though this is difficult to predict and rely on, when the arrangements for re-opening pools under what might be some form of continuing covid restrictions are still not known.
Further donations would be welcome from members and others, and the possibility of obtaining additional grants is also being actively explored.
The Club is optimistic that the extra funding required can be raised over the next few months, at least to go ahead with Stage 2 in October, immediately after the end of the 2021 swimming season.
However, procuring the further funding required to also proceed with the new heating systems will be more of a challenge. The Trustees remain very committed to raising all the extra money and delivering all these elements of the very beneficial upgrades planned during 2021.