A LEISURE centre which closed following the discovery of deadly legionella bacteria will not now reopen before the end of January.

Walton Lifestyles, on the Esplanade, was shut earlier this month after a customer became ill and the bacteria was found and is now having redesign changes carried out.

A specialist water treatment firm was brought in to carry out a comprehensive survey of the water system at the centre.

Alterations based on their recommendations are now well under way.

Tendring Council leisure boss Lynda McWilliams, councillor responsible for leisure, health and wellbeing, apologised to customers but said that the later reopening date was unavoidable.

“I said at the outset that it will take as long as it takes and unfortunately that will be a bit longer than was first anticipated,” she said.

“We understand that customers will be frustrated but we will be making sure that our pre-paid regulars will be compensated properly.”

The council has confirmed that no fees will be taken from customers for January or February because the site will have been close for two months.

Those with annual memberships will have two months added on at the end of their year.

As a precautionary measure all the showers at the site are being replaced and modifications are being made involving the cold water pipeto ensure any potential for problems is designed out. The pool was unaffected by the bacteria.

A full chlorination of the entire water system will take place once all the work has been completed and independent systematic testing will be carried out before the showers are opened for use.

There is no suggestion of problems at any of the council’s other sites, but comprehensive independent checks will take place to confirm they are free from legionella.