Work starts on £9.2m Oxford swimming pool complex

Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre It is hoped the new swimming pool complex will be built by December 2014

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Work has started on a £9.2m pool complex in Oxford after a legal bid to protect the land on which it is being built was withdrawn.

Residents had taken Oxfordshire County Council to the High Court over its refusal to award land next to Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre Town Green status.

But the challenge was dropped earlier this year.

Work on the centre, which includes a 25m main pool and teaching pool, are due to be complete by December 2014.

Existing pools at Temple Cowley and Blackbird Leys are set to shut when the new complex is finished.

'Long time coming'

City councillor Mike Rowley said the new centre would be a "great asset" for Oxford.

He added: "This has been a long time coming and we have had to deal with a number of legal challenges to reach this stage."

"The council intends to operate the existing pools at Temple Cowley and Blackbird Leys until the new pool is completed.

"As time passes the risk of a serious equipment failure increases, but we are working hard to keep the existing facilities operating successfully until the new pool is ready."

The city council submitted the plans to replace Temple Cowley and Blackbird Leys pools in 2011.

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