Members of Neath Port Talbot Council have agreed to permanently close Pontardawe swimming pool by the end of August 2024.

The decision came at an extra cabinet meeting held on May 8, where councillors heard how the pool would be shut down on the grounds of public safety.

The pool was first closed in November 2022 after the discovery of serious defects relating to a void around the training pool and columns under spectator seating, as well as the deterioration of structural concrete in the pool tank and external walls.

It was later re-opened in January 2023 after repair work estimated to be worth around £141,000 was carried out, though it was highlighted at the time that this was temporary and would only last for a maximum of two years.

However, officers at the latest meeting told councillors that further deterioration of the reinforced concrete had been discovered by building experts in recent months, which meant the pool would need to be closed earlier than expected with long-term repairs deemed “economically un-viable”.

The report read: “Pontardawe Swimming Pool is in a very poor state of repair and having had the life extended by emergency propping up works in 2022/23, further deterioration has taken place, and the building is now life expired.

“To ensure public and staff safety a planned closure at the end of August 2024 is proposed, giving as much time as possible to complete the school year and summer programming and for changes to the Neath Leisure Centre programme to be made to accommodate displaced users at Pontardawe Swimming Pool.”

Alongside the approved closure members also decided to allocate £30,000 worth of funding for a feasibility study which would look at the possibility of providing a new pool for the area, which is currently estimated to cost between £10-12m.

The decision came after a scrutiny session which saw councillors raise a number of questions over the plans which they said could have a “heavy impact” on the health and wellbeing of residents in the area.

Councillor Anthony Richards of Pontardawe said there was an overwhelming strength of feeling in the community with more than 2,000 signatures on a recent petition showing that the pool was of paramount importance to the area.

Officers acknowledged that there was a need for a new pool in the town though added that at the moment there were no identified sources of funding available to build one.

Others said they felt a feasibility study for a new pool should have been carried out sooner, and raised concerns over how schools would be impacted with many potentially needing to cover transport costs to take classes to other facilities in the future.

It is now expected that the Pontardawe pool will close by the end of August 2024 with plans for demolition delegated to the director of environment and regeneration at a cost of around £500,000.