Work is starting today to demolish Elland Swimming Baths as fears grow over the safety of the Victorian building.
Severe structural deterioration at the pool has forced Calderdale Council to take immediate action following an inspection by officials last week which showed that the eastern gable wall, overlooking Huddersfield Road, is continuing to move, raising concerns over a risk to the public.
The Council had to close the pool in December 2011 due to serious structural defects, and has continued to regularly monitor the building which is over 100-years-old.
These ongoing inspections, together with independent engineer reports, have shown gradual movement of the wall, caused in part by defects in the pool floor.
However, since the last inspection in May the wall has deteriorated rapidly, moving a further 4mm in just eight weeks, thought to be due to the recent spell of hot, dry weather.
There are serious concerns that the wall could become unstable, so action is being carried out to take down the highest part of the gable together with the adjacent roof to remove the immediate danger.
Once this has been done, the rest of the building will be demolished as it does not have a viable future and estimates suggest a cost of at least £1 million to repair, the council said in a satement today.
To facilitate the action, scaffolding will be put in place today to secure the building and provide a working platform.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Coun Barry Collins, said: “Whilst this is unfortunate news, we have no other option but to demolish the building.
“We have carried out regular checks and there has been considerable deterioration since our last visit in May.
“Safety is our top priority. The condition of the wall is deteriorating rapidly, and if we don’t act straight away people could be in serious danger,” he said.
“Once the urgent demolition works have been completed, we will be consulting with the community to develop ideas for the future of the site.”
Elland Pool was built in 1901 and has been run by Calderdale Council since 1974.
There is a war memorial at the base of the gable wall of the building, and care will be taken to look after and relocate this.