DODGY tiles have delayed the opening of a new swimming pool in Gosport for more than two weeks.
The batch of substandard tiles were fitted two weeks ago on the walkway around the pool at the new Gosport Leisure Centre, off Forest Way, which will still open in part on December 31.
But it was after the tiles were fitted that contractors Wilmott Dixon and DC Leisure, the firm running the centre, discovered the problem during snag checking, before handing over the centre to the leisure firm.
The pool itself has passed tests but will now not open until January 19 whilst the Italian tiles are replaced.
The rest of the leisure centre will open on Monday, including the sports hall, studios, football pitches and 70-item fitness suite.
The Tory leader of Gosport Borough Council, Councillor Mark Hook said: ‘I’m pleased that the dry side’s being opened and all the work that’s gone into that.
‘But I’m naturally disappointed that right at the eleventh hour that we’ve got a batch of faulty tiles, which means the pool itself can’t be opened.
‘That is disappointing but we are not prepared to have substandard materials to be used on something that we should justifiably be proud of for the future.
‘I’d rather delay it for a short period and get the proper tiles, rather than the ones that have been rejected.
‘We’re paying for a quality finish and that’s exactly what we want.’
There will be no cost to the council for replacing the tiles.
But Leader of the Lib Dem opposition, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, said: ‘Schools will all be back, January isn’t the time when most people are going to rush to go public swimming, it’s the quietest month of the year.
‘The saddest thing is having missed the Olympics, when everyone wanted sports facilities and we had none.
‘It’s three years of broken promises and delays so one more won’t surprise people but let’s hope it’s the last.’
Peter Kirkham, development director at DC Leisure, said builders start back on January 7.