A SOUTHAMPTON swimming pool forced to shut for safety reasons is to stay closed at least until this summer.

The city’s leisure boss has confirmed that repair work at Bitterne swimming pool will last until at least the end of July with the possibility that it could be even longer.

An inspection revealed that the state of the roof was worse than initially thought and plans to close the pool hall for repairs were brought forward two weeks ago.

City council executive member for leisure Cllr Satvir Kaur said: “Works are under way now.

“We’ll be working as quickly as we can to reopen it with the fully repaired roof by the school summer holidays, but like any repair or development work we can’t guarantee that.

“I’m sure that residents of Southampton would much prefer to have it reopened with a safe roof and we’ll do what we can to ensure that this is possible.”

The costs of the repairs at the Southampton City Council-owned centre are not known.

Active Nation, the national sport and exercise organisation that runs the centre, has given swimmers the option to use the pool at the Quays in the city centre.

2,500 people used the pool in Bitterne – including1,300 who were signed up to swimming lessons there.

Mark Stinchcombe, 37, research technician, from Itchen, used to take his two children to the leisure centre in Bitterne and is now taking them to the Quays.

He said: “Lessons are at a different time and it’s a bit more awkward.

“We are going across the bridge in rush hour which is never great and I’ll have to leave work earlier but there’s nothing much we can do.

“I’d rather my children were in a safe pool and have Bitterne closed to carry out work.

“I’ve no problem if they close the pool for safety reasons.”

Mark also hoped that this will be a good opportunity to repair the men’s toilets at the centre.

“I’d rather stay at the Quays and give them time to get it sorted other than rush it and have some problems in the future,” he added.

A council spokesperson confirmed that some parents have opted to freeze their direct debit payment until the pool re-opens, while others decided to find an alternative pool.