SWIMMERS in Malvern say they are disappointed not to be able to use the town's pool until 2021, but agree it is right to be refurbishing it.

Malvern's swimmers will have to wait a while longer for their chance to go for a swim, as redevelopment work means the Malvern Splash pool will remain closed until January 2021, despite other leisure centres in the county re-opening.

Malvern Hills District Council and Freedom Leisure decided to take advantage of the coronavirus lockdown to get a head start on the multi-million pound refurbishment of the pool, which includes full refurbishment of the swimming pool changing rooms including dedicated changing facilities for people with disabilities and additional family changing areas.

Work is expected to begin at the end of August, instead of October as originally planned. It is hoped the work will be completed in December, but Malvern’s swimmers will have to travel elsewhere for the foreseeable future.

Managing director of Freedom Leisure, Ivan Horsfall-Turner, said: “The timetable change means when the centre is eventually allowed to reopen, the swimming pool will be unavailable. This will avoid the potential disruption caused by having to reopen and then close again shortly after.”

Swimmers reacted to the news on social media. Heather Wale said: "Oh good, the changing rooms were always disgusting. So much for wearing overshoes, it just wasn’t enforced so there was always mud and debris off people’s shoes and pushchairs on the floor."

Another, Hels Bels said: "Perfect time to do the refurbishment, it has really started to look old and shabby so the new proposals sound fab.

"Hopefully by January the world will be rid of this vile virus and we can get back to enjoying life."

Malvern councillor Samantha Charles, who has been used the Malvern Splash for 20 years, said she and her family would be disappointed by the news, but that the refurbishment was much needed.

She said: "I totally understand how desperate people are to get back to normal and enjoy the pool at The Splash.

"All four of my own children learned to swim there and I’ve been a Splash member on and off for 20 years myself.

"However, the pool and changing rooms are long overdue refurbishment and it’s essential that this valuable resource is updated and maintained for generations to come."

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin, herself a keen swimmer, said: "As a keen swimmer myself, I can understand the disappointment of local swimmers that their pool is shut.

"My understanding is that the revamp was approved before lockdown, so I hope this has not come as too much of a surprise for local users."

There will also be a new interactive water play feature for younger swimmers, underwater lighting and PA system, a new flume and a new wave machine to enhance the experience for swimmers.

The pool side area itself will also be revamped. A new UV filtration system has already been installed that will improve water quality and lower levels of chlorine.

A range of environmental measures including more energy efficient pumps, boilers and LED lighting have been installed while the centre has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The main project also includes the installation of energy efficient glazing and solar panels.

Leader of Malvern Hills District Council Cllr Sarah Rouse said: “I’m delighted to confirm our commitment to delivering this £2million scheme which will deliver first class facilities for residents.

“We know some people may be disappointed they have to wait a while longer to enjoy a swim but the revised timetable will minimise disruption meaning people will be able to enjoy the benefits of this significant investment much earlier than planned.