A COMMUNITY swimming pool in Southampton is back on track to open early next year despite delays in construction, civic chiefs say.

Oaklands Community Pool, in Lordshill, is being restored as part of a £1.7m project.

The work, being funded by Southampton City Council, initially started in February but was hit by delays due to complications with the pool ceiling.

But Coxford ward councillor Sally Spicer insists the pool will be opening in January next year, as planned.

The pool, in Fairisle Road, was closed in 2012 due to a long-standing leak. The closure led to the establishment of a Save the Oaklands Pool which fought to get it opened again.

The council agreed in October last year to finance its refurbishment before it is run by the Oaklands Community Pool group on a 25-year lease.

The Lordshill Community Association will also move into rooms being created as part of a community hub for activities.

Work was delayed this summer due to the condition of the pool ceiling.

But Coxford ward councillor Sally Spicer said the works are “back on schedule” with the authority due to hand it over to the community group by the end of November before opening to the public in the new year.

She said: “This is going to be really good for the community. There’s going to be a brand new pool with a 20 to 30-year life which will open to the public in January.

“Swimming is good exercise and a life skill for children, and now there are swimming clubs that can come back to the pool which have previously had to go elsewhere.”

Dan Lally, who will be the new pool’s facilities manager, is looking forward to the opening. He said: “It’s excellent and will have a positive impact on the community.”

He said the group remained patient during the delays, and added: “We need the pool to be right and make sure it is up together so we can have a good future.”

Council leader Simon Letts said: “It’s been a long complex process but it’s going to be very good for the community. It’s the benefit of the pool and the generation of a community hub which will be useful for community groups.”