A popular Darlington leisure centre has confirmed planned maintenance work will take longer than expected to complete.

Darlington Borough Council (DBC) have today (March 24) confirmed essential maintenance work on the Dolphin Centre's main swimming pool will now likely reopen in September.

This comes after a six-week phase of demolition work began recently, which will be completed in early May.

DBC have said demolition work is being carried out at night to ensure other areas of the pool can remain open.

Read more: Darlington leisure centre pool will shut down for 4 months

DBC had announced in December last year the redevelopment was anticipated to take four months.

Speaking on the delays, Lisa Soderman, Darlington Borough Council’s Head of Leisure, said: “When the pool was drained, detailed investigatory work identified that the deterioration was more extensive than initially anticipated.

“Specialist contractors have now confirmed exact requirements which will involve a more detailed programme of works that will take longer to complete.  It’s critical that the work completed as part of this project resolves the structural issues to avoid disruption in the future.

“We appreciate this will be disappointing for customers, but the work is essential to ensure we have a pool in the future.

“As soon as we can confirm an exact reopening date, we will share this information with customers as widely as possible.

"I would like to thank everyone for their patience as we work to deliver a pool that people in Darlington can enjoy for many years to come.”

Read more: Stirks Italian Steakhouse in Seaham confirms closure on Facebook

DBC have confirmed the centre's temporary pool programme, which includes swimming lessons for around 1,500 children, lane swimming, diving board sessions, toddler pool bookings, water aerobics and some family provision, will continue.

They have also said that the original plans did not did not contain the level of detail required to predict a specific completion date.

Demolition of the site began earlier this week on Tuesday (March 21).

The council have said they are confident of reopening the pool in September this year, but mentioned the demolition could unearth issues they are not yet aware of.

Adding to this, they said this work needed to be done as the pool approached the end of its life cycle, and without renovation, the pool would have become unusable.

Read next:

For more quality journalism, subscribe to The Northern Echo for £1.50 a week here

A DBC spokesperson said: "Hairline fractures in the tiles due to original design and construction has meant that over time water from the pool has leaked into the concrete below which has corroded due to the chloride.

"This means that not only do we need to address the structural work below the pool, but we need to use modern waterproofing technology and construction techniques to future proof the pool.

"The project is complicated, but Darlington Borough Council is committed to ensuring that residents can continue to enjoy their local pool in the future."