Spiralling costs have left a council considering the future of a project to redevelop a leisure centre and swimming pool which is now set to cost five times more than first planned.
Medway Council is currently considering whether to borrow another £7 million to keep plans afloat for the redevelopment of Splashes leisure centre at Cozenton Park, Rainham.
This would take the total expected cost to just under £25m – £20m more than estimated when plans for the site were first brought forward.
It means the future of the project could hang in the balance with other options on the table including scrapping the plans entirely, delaying the redevelopment or going back to the drawing board.
Demolition of the existing pool - which is owned by the council and opened in 1990 - began in January.
In June, plans were approved for the full redevelopment of the site and councillors added £12.85 million from borrowing to the council's capital programme for the project, taking the total cost to around £17.85 million.
A report presented to cabinet says the contract for the main works went out to tender following this budget approval.
But it added: "Due to economic volatility internationally, caused primarily by rocketing fuel costs and the war in Ukraine, there has been a knock-on effect on the construction industry across the UK, leading to challenges across all areas of the supply chain, as well as significant increases in labour costs.
"This has meant that the completed tenders received in August 2022 were several million pounds higher than those projected earlier in the year.
"As a result of these highly unusual circumstances, the capital budget approved by full council in July is no longer sufficient to award a contract for the development of the new Splashes sports centre."
Last June, cabinet members revised the project and approved that the building should be pulled down and rebuilt to prevent it becoming an eyesore after surveys identified issues with the structure.
This forced the initial plans to refurbish the original building at an expected cost of £5m to be shelved.
At a meeting next Tuesday, cabinet members will be asked whether they want to borrow another £7 million to add to the project budget.
Other options include abandoning or delaying the redevelopment or redesigning the centre to allow it to go ahead within the budget which has been approved.
The recommended option by council officers is to progress with the project with additional borrowing.
The report also says around £2.3 million has already been spent, which include demolition costs and project management.
Splashes opened 32 years ago and featured a 145ft long flume, wave pool and hosted many different swimming events, lessons and galas.
Plans for the new centre include a training pool for lane swimming and lessons, as well as a fun pool with flume, wave ball pool, and beach area.
There will also be a fitness gym, room for exercise classes and children’s parties, and family and accessible changing rooms.