Liverpool Aquatics Centre Image 2
LIVERPOOL’S flagship Olympic swimming pool cost city taxpayers £1.5m in its first nine months of operation.
Since the £17m Liverpool Aquatic Centre opened in March last year, it has cost almost £2.1m to run, but has only generated £633,000 in revenue.
The centre, which ended up costing 40% more than originally planned, will also need a £1.7m subsidy to survive each year, it emerged last night.
The information, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, has led to fears the long-awaited Wavertree complex is not representing good value for money for the city in financially challenging times. But council leaders last night pointed to the more than 138,000 people who have used the pool and more than 92,000 its gym, as evidence of its success, and believe it is helping to promote a healthier Liverpool.
Opposition councillors said the Liberal Democrat administration had been "blinkered" in its approach to the project and it now appeared the pool was not delivering value for money.
Conservative shadow minister for Merseyside Chris Grayling said the pool was evidence the council did not know how to manage projects properly.
Council leader Warren Bradley said the centre was part of the council’s drive to improve health in the area in an affordable way to residents.
He said local authorities subsidised swimming pools, and Liverpool Aquatics Centre was no different.
Since it opened, nine competitions have been held at the 50m Olympic-size pool.
The sports centre cost £17m to build, of which £13m was borrowed by the council.
The final bill will be £31m, once the debt is repaid in 2008, at a cost of £1.3m a year.