A Birmingham swimming pool is due to reopen later this year after a £1 million upgrade. But would the city benefit from an Olympic-sized pool? Neil Connor looks at the issue...
An historic swimming pool which was closed last year following the launch of a massive renovation project is set to reopen on September 1.
Moseley Road swimming baths ( pictured ) is undergoing a £1 million upgrade to ensure the closure-threatened pool is saved for the local community.
Since closing last September, builders have replaced large parts of the popular facility, including several steel girders and more than ten metres of the main chimney.
A number of gable walls have also been stabilised and a 20-foot window above pool two has been taken down piece by piece and rebuilt.
Coun Martin Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley & Kings Heath), chairman of the working party on Moseley Road swimming baths, said the building was at risk of collapsing before the short-term renovation work was carried out.
However, the job of upgrading the entire building was not as complicated as had previously been thought, Coun Mullaney added.
"It was really quite dangerous when we first went in there, as we were very concerned that the 20 foot window above the second pool would fall into the water,? he said.
"Also, if you looked at the gable walls from the outside of the building, they looked as if they were sloping outwards.
"There were some really difficult jobs to carry out but the builders have done well."
The baths were originally intended to be open within six months of the launch of the restoration project.
However, Coun Mullaney said the working party behind the restoration wanted to ensure that a thorough job would be done on the Grade II listed building.
He said: "We have done a massive job and have really upgraded the pool.
"But to be fair, I do not think the entire job of bringing the pool back to its former glory is as big as it was once thought."
The baths were threatened with closure as they had fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Surveyors had blamed the Edwardians for using substandard materials when they built the baths.
Attempts to close the building in 2002 were abandoned after a public outcry which followed a two-year campaign.
The second class pool, which is the smaller of the two pools, will be opening at the end of the summer. The first class pool will reopen after the full upgrade has been completed.
Selina Stewart, who is leading a campaign to save the baths, said she was concerned that only one of the pools was being re-opened initially.
"The baths have been closed longer than we had hoped and the local community has been deprived of a valuable facility. But we have been impressed with the work that has been done so far."
Coun John Alden (Con Harborne), cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: ?I?m delighted that the urgent safety repair work is on schedule.
"Pool one will remain closed for the near future because we are in discussion with English Heritage on how to renovate the building. One answer could be to have a single swimming pool with the rest of the area used as community space. It is historic, but unusual, that Moseley Road Baths has two pools."