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The Swallows swimming pool in Sittingbourne to be out of action for weeks after storm damage

A swimming pool is expected to be out of action for a number of weeks after high winds tore off part of its roof.

The Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne was shut on Sunday when Storm Ciara sent metal debris flying.

Firefighters cordoned off the area around The Swallows on Sunday
Firefighters cordoned off the area around The Swallows on Sunday

It has meant the whole leisure centre and its car park have had to stay closed ahead of next week's half-term.

Today, Swale Community Leisure (SCL) – the trust that manages the centre – said the extent of the damage needed further inspection and the centre would not re-open until a structural engineer visited the site.

Craig King, contract manager for SCL, said: "Due to the severity of the weather it was impossible to immediately ascertain the extent of the damage. We were therefore advised by the emergency services to close and evacuate the whole centre, including the access road and car park.

"The latest update we have is that the extent of the damage necessitates further inspection. Emergency roofing works, including scaffolding installation, are taking place to ensure the roof is safe to access for closer inspection.

"Taking into account the time and forecasted weather conditions, a structural engineer is due to re-visit the site on Monday to carry out a full inspection on the whole roof. We will, therefore, be remaining fully closed until that date."

The damaged roof at The Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne
The damaged roof at The Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne

Mr King said the trust hoped to report "positive news" to customers on Monday regarding when it would be able to open the gym and other facilities at the centre – but not the pool.

He said: "Unfortunately, due to the amount and type of damage, we are expecting the pool to be out of action for a number of weeks.

"We hope to be able to provide a clearer timeline on Monday after the inspection."

He added: "We would like to inform all swimming lesson customers that they will be contacted by a member of my team over the coming days to discuss how we’re going to deal with the temporary closure.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding during this period."

The swimming pool area at The Swallows
The swimming pool area at The Swallows

The swimming pool only reopened in May last year after being shut for almost six months.

The closure was part of a £2 million makeover of the Avenue of Remembrance centre and Sheppey Leisure Complex.

Repairs to The Swallows' roof had also been part of the investment.

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