BICESTER play and teach pool will reopen on Saturday after being closed for repairs for more than a year.

The children’s pool at Bicester Leisure Centre will open at 11am following major repair work to the tune of £120,000, which was funded by Cherwell District Council.

It was closed in December 2012 after “sudden unexplained cracking of the pool base tiles”.

The council say specialist contractors have now repaired the concrete base, replaced pipes and retiled the entire pool.

Water play features at the pool have also been replaced and now include a frog, rainbow slide and mushroom water fountain.

The district council had been criticised by residents for taking too long to repair the pool and many said that they were forced to travel out of town to other swimming pools for leisure and children’s lessons.

Deputy leader George Reynolds thanked people for their patience.

He said: “The closure of the Play ’n’ Teach Pool has been incredibly frustrating for all concerned, not least our customers who we know have missed this popular facility.

“While concentrated efforts have been made to get the pool reopened as soon as possible, technically challenging issues have unfortunately extended the time scales to successfully do so.

“However we are now delighted to be able to reopen the pool for the start of the new year and would like to thank everyone for their patience during the closure.”

Liyen Ashby, general manager of Parkwood Leisure which manages the facility for the council, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming back some of our youngest customers and their parents and to seeing the pool full again.

“We hope that people will enjoy our new and improved facilities.”

To celebrate the re-opening of the Play ’n’ Teach Pool, Bicester Leisure Centre will host a free swimming open day in both pools on Sunday, February 2, between 10am and 4pm.

There will be visits from Trunks the Elephant, Zoggy the Seal and Olly the Octopus.

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