Wiltshire Council has confirmed that it intends to begin a phased reopening of its leisure services from 3 August, following recent confirmation from the Government that leisure centres can reopen with social distancing measures in place.
Melksham's Blue Pool will open on Monday 10th August according to the schedule published by Wiltshire Council.
Melksham South councillor Jon Hubbard commented, "I'm pleased that we now have a date for the pool to reopen and that people will be able to start using this popular facility again.
"I know that this has not been an easy process for the leisure team and I want to pay credit all of the dedicated staff who have worked so hard to develop a safe system for reopening the centre.
"It's very disappointing that the free swimming for under 16's will not be available in the summer, I understand that this is to try and help manage numbers in the pool. Hopefully this will return as soon as it is feasible."
From 3 August, Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre, Salisbury, and Springfield Community Campus, Corsham, will open their doors to the public for the first time since 20 March, with customers able to initially access the fitness suite, swimming pool and group exercise classes.
Then, from 10 August, the council plans to reopen Nadder Centre, Tisbury; The Vale Community Campus, Pewsey; and Devizes Leisure Centre. Marlborough Leisure Centre will follow later in August or early September.
On 10 August, a number of the sites managed on behalf of the council by Places Leisure will reopen, including The Olympiad, Chippenham; The Activity Zone, Malmesbury; Castle Place Leisure Centre, Trowbridge; Melksham Blue Pool and Warminster Sports Centre.
In September, Lime Kiln Leisure Centre, Royal Wootton Bassett; Bradford on Avon Swimming Pool; Westbury Swimming Pool; and Leighton Recreation Centre, Westbury will reopen.
To manage the number of people at each centre at any given time, customers must book in advance, and follow social distancing and increased hygiene measures.
The opening schedule has been devised to ensure that both Wiltshire Council and Places Leisure can manage resources effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic, while keeping customers and staff as safe as possible at each centre. This means not all leisure centres will initially reopen, though these arrangements will be regularly reviewed.
Facilities such as cafes and creches will remain closed at this stage, and due to the restrictions on group swimming it is not possible to continue with under 16s free swimming at present.
Calne Leisure Centre will reopen later this autumn, when its development work is complete. Repair works are continuing at Trowbridge Sports Centre, with work set to be complete before the end of the year. Amesbury Sports Centre and Durrington Swimming and Fitness Centre will remain closed for the time being. The council is working with the MOD on the reopening of Tidworth Leisure Centre at a later date.
Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, said: “Our teams have worked hard to put the arrangements in place to be able to provide leisure services again during the pandemic. This is a new way of providing services, and we ask people to bear with us while we reopen in a careful and phased way.
“We have closely followed government advice to ensure that when each centre opens it’s as safe as possible for our staff and customers. Our friendly and attentive staff are eager to welcome people back and as time goes on we hope we can introduce more services for all to enjoy.
“For those that have to wait a little longer for us to reopen, we appreciate your patience and hope you understand that this approach takes into account our current resources and financial pressures. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of every individual at our centres and reopening in this phased way is the right way to do it.”
The decision to reopen, including the phased approach agreed, is subject to a five-day call-in period for councillors, and leisure members will be contacted next week with final confirmation of reopening dates.
For more information, including membership details and FAQs, people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-covid19
For information about Places Leisure managed services, people should visit www.placesleisure.org/wiltshire/