Water park springs a leak

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A major attraction faces a battle to open on time after springing a massive leak.

Bosses at Sandcastle Waterpark say they have lost 7.5 million litres of water over the winter after cracks appeared in its pools.

The Blackpool attraction has already spent £500,000 on repairs and is locked in a race against time to fix the problem ahead of its scheduled reopening on February 15.

John Child, managing director, said: “Not only do we have a complex and arduous job in front of us, which will take time, but we also need two clear weeks to fill the pools and treat it.

“I have serious concerns.”

Mr Child has vowed teams will work round the clock to stop the leak.

The three leaks identified come in the form of a 15ft crack in one pool, a fracture in a 12-inch pipe – which is 16ft underground – and problems with dry joints in the pipework of the wave pool located 20ft down.

Mr Child added: “This has all come at a large cost to the business, as not only have we had the cost of lost water, but we have incurred charges in sewerage, plus additional costs which have gone into heating and treating the water.

“Now all that is left is to work 24 hours a day, if needs be, to get the water park open for business as soon as possible, a task myself and the team here are completely committed to.”

The amount of water lost equates to 41,666 baths or would provide drinking water for around three million people for a day.

Jon Adami, project manager on site, added: “We have had to work through a huge process of elimination to get the final result – analysing water readings, measuring water loss, pressure testing miles of pipework and scouring metres of pool surface.

“It has been a complicated task and we have all had to pull together to get the answers.”

Matthew Bracegirdle, who runs the New Osborne Hotel in nearby Osborne Road, South Shore, admits it will be a “real blow” for business if the park doesn’t open on time.

He said: “I’ve been telling people the water park’s open for half-term and to get themselves booked in.

“It’ll be a real blow because it’s a big part of our business along with the Pleasure Beach.

“It’ll leave Blackpool a little bit vulnerable for the half-term, although we do push the shows too.

“I’ve been pushing the Sandcastle because it’s a big draw for people, especially for us down the south end of town because we don’t attract any of the winter Gardens trade really.”

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers’ group Stay Blackpool, added: “I’m really concerned for them but I’m sure John (Child) and his team will do their absolute utmost to sort all the problems out.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Council’s tourism arm VisitBlackpool said: “We have every faith the team at the Sandcastle is doing everything they can to ensure the attraction opens on time.”