Paddling pool hopes for the weekend

Paddling pools at parks in Ripley and Heanor are finally due to reopen after harsh winter weather forced Amber Valley Borough Council to cordon them off.

This July has seen one the first prolonged heat-wave in Britain since 2006, with temperatures soaring past 30 degrees on several occasions.

But the popular water pools for children to bathe in at Crossley Park, Ripley, and Heanor Memorial Park have had to remain behind security fencing since April.

They were originally scheduled to be open by the May Day bank holiday, but this week the council says the damage to the pools was far deeper than they first anticipated.

Landscape Services development manager Sharon Thomas said: “What happened this year is we had significant structural damage to the pools.

“The whole thing has had to be rebuilt, re-plastered and re-skimmed.

“But because the costs have been quite significant we had to put the work out to tender for a specialist contractor to complete the repairs - a process which takes 28 days. Then it was a question about the contractor’s availability.”

Ms Thomas said the work has now been completed and the pools filled with water, but the authority will be running tests on the chlorine levels in the water and the pumps over the next few days to make sure they are safe for use by the public.

It is anticipated the pools will be open by this weekend, which in the case of Crossley Park, will mean the toilets therewill also be reopened as an attendant will be on site.

Mundy Street, Heanor, resident Ken Tucker, 72, who lives near the memorial park, said he has encountered a number of parents frustrated at the lack of paddling pool facilities.

He said: “Mothers are coming this way from around Heanor and they want to go and sit on the grass while the kids play and they find it’s all blocked off. it’s not very nice for them in this weather.

“I would have thought the council would have made it a priority!

But Ms Thomas said the authority has ‘done everything it can’ to get the pools open in time for the start of the summer holidays.

She said: “I’ve got grandchildren, most of us are local and have children - we want to see them open too because we love the paddling pools.”