Derby deserves a new pool. A city of our size and ambition needs leisure facilities that reflect our status as the base of Olympic Gold medallist Adam Peaty.

We want Derby to be a great place to live, work and visit, so it’s crucial that we have leisure facilities that reinforce our vision.

As has been well documented, our ageing facilities at Queens and Moorways are no longer fit for purpose and expensive to maintain. That’s why as part of the 2017/18 Budget Consultation, we have included £20 million of funding in our capital programme to be put towards a replacement pool.

This is of course exciting news for the city. But we want to be open and frank with the people of Derby about what we want to provide and when it can be delivered. At this early stage, nothing is set in stone.

But what we can say is that we would like a replacement pool to be built at Moorways. Like lots of people in the city, I have spent many happy hours swimming there. It was the place where both I and then my children learnt to swim, as well as where I would spend my school holidays. So we feel it is the natural fit for a new facility.

And preparation for this exciting project has already started. We are putting an excellent team in place to carry out a feasibility study to look at what may be possible on the Moorways site.

If preparations go to plan, we intend for work to begin on the site by late 2017, with construction starting the following Spring. After an approximate 18 month construction period, the building will be completed for staff to train and final preparations made ready for the building to open.

We know that residents are eager to see progress on this important project, especially given the problems that we have experienced with our existing facilities, and we are eager too. But this is a major project and we will only have one opportunity to get this right.

It will be a centre that will serve the city for decades, so it’s vital that we take all the steps necessary to ensure Derby gets the pool it needs, rather than the one that it can get the quickest. Based on our current timeline, we expect the facility will open to the public in 2020.

Our ambition is to have a replacement fifty metre pool, as well as a smaller training pool and leisure water, including flumes and play equipment. But all this will depend on the findings of the feasibility study and the business case for the new pool.

In recent months, we have visited a number of similar facilities around the country in places like High Wycombe, Oxford, Corby and Huddersfield.

The best centres we have seen are highly versatile. With 50 metre pools that include moveable booms and floors, they can be divided and customised to meet the needs of customers. This approach offers maximum swimming space for those who use the pool and ensures that the centre generates enough revenue to meet its significant running costs.

Many of these buildings offer additional leisure activities too, from gyms and saunas to sports halls and rock climbing. When making our plans, we need to consider the best fit for Derby and what is sustainable within our financial reality.

We want to create a centre that will deliver for our communities. A 50 metre swimming pool will give Derby a stronger future, by providing water space for lessons, clubs and casual swimming. The facility will create opportunities for success, by enabling athletes to inspire future generations and helping to attract businesses to Derby.

We will build a pool that will help make Derby a great place to live, work and visit. As our plans progress, I will ensure regular updates are provided to the public so you can stay informed.

We cannot hide from the problems that exist with our out-of-date facilities at Queens and Moorways, but today I want to focus on a positive message. Derby City Council will build a new 50 metre swimming pool, which will guarantee a safer, stronger future for our residents.

Whether you are a casual swimmer, high performance athlete or someone taking to the water for the first time, we will give you a replacement pool to be proud of.