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Another Hodder pool left floundering

Hodder Associates' second troubled swimming pool could face the wrecking ball after the local authority was forced to reclaim the site.

Problems at the Berners Pool, in Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, started last summer when the operator, Cartmel Peninsula Recreational Trust, went belly-up, leaving the building unoccupied (Another Hodder pool closes as row rumbles between contractor and architect).

South Lakeland District Council was handed the keys and recently carried out a survey of the abandoned building, calculating repair costs at in excess of £900,000 - leading to speculation that it could be cheaper to demolish the building.

Comparisons will no doubt be drawn between the Cumbrian pool and Stephen Hodder's previous swimming pool, Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney, east London, which was also closed and eventually ended in a settlement outside of court.

The Cumbrian council is remaining tight-lipped about the 'Berners Pool affair' as there has been the suggestion of possible legal action.

Council chief executive Mike Jones, said: 'It's a difficult situation, as there may be litigation in the future. The one thing we can say is there are problems with the building, but we are not certain whether it is due to its design, maintenance or construction. We are currently looking at all options.'

Meanwhile, Stirling Prize winner Hodder believes the building is in need of such heavy repairs because it has been abandoned for so long and has suffered serious damage from the recent storms.

He said: 'It's tragic really - we worked so hard alongside the community trust to build the pool, and it is such a shame they couldn't keep the building running.

'But the trust simply couldn't afford to maintain it. I was told later that they didn't have a business plan, and any leisure building needs maintaining.

'There was a tear in the roof, which needed repairing and was just left, and over the course of winter and the damage from the storms last month, the building took a real battering.' he added.

by Richard Vaughan

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