A LEAKAGE of hazardous asbestos has nothing to do with the extended closure of Radcliffe Leisure Centre’s main pool, council chiefs have said.

Bosses have admitted asbestos was found shortly after the pool’s windows were damaged in December but have reassured the public there is no health danger and they are striving to have the centre completely re-opened as soon as possible.

The reason given for the pool still being shut is decaying concrete, caused by long-term exposure to water and the chemicals used to treat the pool.

The severe structural damage discovered means the pool could remain closed for several months, with no date yet given for repair works to be completed.

Cllr Jane Lewis, cabinet member for leisure, tourism and culture, said: “I want to reassure residents that we are working to make the pool safe and will reopen it as soon as we can.

“The building’s structural integrity is completely safe but as investigations are still under way — pending a full report from specialist engineers — it is too early to say when the facility could reopen.

“The gym, teaching pool and changing rooms remain open with main pool swimming lessons transferred to Castle Leisure Centre in Bury.”

The leisure centre was shut for safety inspections in early December after severe weather and strong winds dislodged six windows.

The small teaching pool, changing rooms and gym were reopened days later but the main pool has now been shut for more than two months.

When the windows were repaired in December, it was discovered the damage had caused hazardous asbestos fibres to fall inside the building from the wall cladding.

Then, when specialists begun removing the asbestos wall cladding, they found several concrete columns which form the main pool’s structure were in a very poor condition.

Cllr Lewis added: “Air tests to measure the levels of asbestos in all areas of the leisure centre have confirmed it is perfectly safe, and the Health and Safety Executive are happy with how the asbestos has been dealt with.”