TWO Southend swimming pools will stay closed until the middle of May despite leisure centre bosses receiving nearly £2million in bailouts.

The Government’s road map states pools can re-open from April 12 but both Belfairs Swim Centre in Leigh and Shoebury Leisure Centre’s pool will open on May 17.

Fusion, which manages leisure centres across Southend, received £1.2million from Southend Council last year as well as £406,000 from the National Leisure Recovery Fund.

Following a u-turn last week, the swimming pool at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, in Garon Park, will re-open on April 12.

But opposition councillors have been left frustrated that not all pools will re-open in line with the Government roadmap despite the huge bailout.

Tony Cox, Tory leader, said: “There is actually no public swimming [in Shoebury] available until May 17. They have had over £1.5million in grants in support.

“Outdoors could reopen on March 29.

“The government are saying please go, and we can’t open up a swimming pool. It’s just wrong, it’s wrong on every level.

“It’s just the latest in a series. They should be open, there is no reason not to.

“If the contractor can’t do it, then it’s time to look for another contractor.

“In the short term they should organise the staff back in to keep them ticking over the start line for a new contractor.

“They have had six months to prepare for this date.”

Fusion came under fire in October last year for continuing to take £10 monthly membership fees from residents throughout the pandemic while receiving council funds.

Mr Cox added: “Following pressure I am pleased that there has been a U-turn and public swimming will be available at Garons on the April 12.

“It’s disgraceful that Shoebury Leisure has been closed for more than a year.

A council spokesman, said: “Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre will be open from April 12 for public swimming, with bookings being made available from the middle of this week.

“Swimming pools at Belfairs and Shoebury will reopen for public swimming on May 17.”