St Neots Town Council has confirmed that the summer of 2020 is a more “realistic timescale” for the opening of the town’s new splash park.

St Neots Town Council has confirmed that the summer of 2020 is a more “realistic timescale” for the opening of the town's new splash park.

Plans to open a swimming pool and cafe alongside the 300-metre splash park on the old open-air swimming pool site in Huntingdon Street, are also progressing, a meeting of the full town council heard on April 2.

The project, originally on course to open this summer, faced delays after councillors voted in favour of granting St Neots Aquatic and Leisure £250,000 towards the £350,000 cost of installing the splash pad in February, but subsequent legal advice cast doubt on the decision.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) recommended seeking legal advice before making a grant to a trust.

According to the minutes of the meeting: “A business plan with more detailed quotations has been provided by the trust. If security is offered, an agreement could be drafted. We would then need to satisfy all borrowing criteria.”

The minutes go on to point out: “A positive meeting was held with the trust and they understood the council's position. It is unlikely that the planning application for the swimming pool will be completed before the end of year which gives the council more time to investigate funding of the splash park.”

The swimming pool project will be undertaken, funded and maintained by a private company which will also maintain the mechanics of the splash pad. There are currently three companies in the bidding process.

Speaking after the meeting, Mick Marks, chairman of St Neots Aquatic and Leisure, said a “very open” meeting had been held with the town council finance team and chairman, Barry Chapman,

“The town council confirmed they are willing to supply a grant of £250,000, hopefully from future Community Infrastructure Levy, to build the splash park. However, they currently do not have any unallocated CIL.

“They do not believe they will be in a position to make the grant this financial year, but may be able to take advantage of a local authority loan to bridge the time until the Wintringham Estate project realises CIL. With this in mind the trust is pushing forward with the pool and café part of the project.”