DEMOLITION work has finally begun on the old Radcliffe Pool and Fitness Centre – after months of delays and spiralling costs.

The facility, in Green Street, closed for the final time last May after suffering severe storm damage in 2013, with subsequent surveys revealing major structural decay that Bury Council deemed too costly to repair.

It had initially been hoped that the demolition would have been completed in January 2016, but the levels of asbestos and structural decay have led to long delays.

A council spokesman confirmed that the demolition of the pool had to be pushed back due to higher-than-anticipated costs arising from those problems. The cost of the works has now been put at close to £700,000 rather than the expected £200,000.

Last year, the Council revealed they are planning to build a state-of-the-art leisure and entertainment venue on the site, acting as a replacement for the pool and the former Radcliffe Civic Suite.

At the time, Cllr Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, set a three-year time frame for the construction of the new centre.

And despite delays in preparing a business plan for the site, he says the project is still on track.

Cllr Shori said: “In January, I said it would be a three-year project and we are still working along that basis.

“We are looking at the provision of leisure services across the borough. What we are trying to do is come up with solutions that are moving forward.

“It has not gone from the agenda. We are still working within the time scale that we have got and, in the meantime, people have got the temporary leisure facility to use.

“We are having to look closely at how we approach the whole leisure offering in the borough and are continuing to work behind the scenes looking at business cases for the new centre.”

When the Civic Suite was knocked down in July, Cllr Shori told the Radcliffe Times that the council would have to wait to assess the impact of Brexit and other national factors affecting the economy before making any final decisions on the venue.

The temporary leisure centre at the former Radcliffe Riverside school, in Spring Lane, will remain open until the new venue is completed.