South West Wales

Afan Lido may be replaced in Neath Port Talbot by 2013

Afan Lido after the fire
Image caption The Afan Lido replacement would house a 25 metre pool, sports hall and dance studio

A new swimming pool, sports hall and community centre that will replace a seafront leisure complex destroyed by fire could open by late 2013.

More than 2,000 people took part in Neath Port Talbot council consultation on replacing the Afan Lido in Aberavon.

It was gutted in December 2009 and clearing the site has been hampered by the presence of asbestos.

The council is preparing to start rebuilding but said a like-for-like replacement was too expensive.

Although many people said they would like to see an identical rebuild, the council said it was costing £700,000 a year to keep the old lido going.

Instead it is proposing a new 25m six-lane swimming pool to replace the Aquadome water attraction and slides that used to exist.

Sports hall

There will also be a four court indoor sports hall and it plans new community facilities to replace existing community centres.

Sandfields Library and Sandfields Lifelong Learning Centre would move to the site once it is completed.

Image caption Neath Port Talbot council pledged to replace the Afan Lido within hours of the fire that destroyed it

Councillors have been told the total project cost had been budgeted at £13.6m.

In a progress report they were told the site had finally been cleared of asbestos in May and work to demolish the remaining structures was targeted to begin in September.

It is hoped planning applications could be submitted by the end of the year with the new centre opening towards the end of 2013.

It said 2,628 people and six groups had been represented during the consultation process.

"Many of the suggestions were of a very detailed nature and particularly from disability groups and individuals around equipment rather than the overall provision," it said.

"Many of the suggestions may be considered within the design, subject to cost effectiveness, including the potential for a health or hydrotherapy suite and details regarding disability access."

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