'FRUSTRATING and disappointing'.

That is how an MP has described news that Aireborough Leisure Centre's swimming pool is now set to stay closed until 'late autumn'.

A £1.2 million spending package was agreed to give the building a revamp, including a major facelift for its swimming pool and facilities, in November, 2016.

Since the work began, however, Leeds City Council's contractors have encountered what the authority has described as 'unforeseeable issues' that have led to a number of delays.

Those problems have included discovering the widespread use of asbestos.

The council insists solid progress is being made despite the issues - but says the completion date for the project has had to be pushed back.

An update on its Active Leeds website says: "We had a number of delays on the project as our contractors dealt with issues with the building which were only possible to identify once work had started, including the extensive use of asbestos in some unexpected areas.

"All of this had to be dealt with slowly and carefully in accordance with Health and Safety regulations.

"The demolition of the previous male and female changing rooms and construction of the changing village and community hubs is now complete and fitting out works have commenced.

"The large windows have been replaced with solar efficient glass and the installation of new pool plant and drainage systems is almost complete.

"We will shortly be moving on to re-tile the pools, carry out some roof works and complete the new entrance area.

"We are looking at re-opening the facility in the late autumn and will keep you updated on progress."

The news has not gone down well with local pool users and MP Stuart Andrew (Con, Pudsey) sympathises with their position.

He said: "I have been in touch with Leeds City Council about the delay to the Aireborough Leisure Centre refurbishment and I understand that this is due to safety concerns arising from the discovery of asbestos.

"While I have been assured that they are working hard to safely remove the asbestos as quickly as possible, the question should be asked why this wasn’t expected and planned for given the age of the building so that this delay could have been prevented.

"I am very frustrated by this and I know how disappointing it is for residents, who have contacted me on a number of occasions to ask why this refurbishment is taking so long.

"I will be keeping in contact with the council and hope the new leisure centre will be worth the long wait."

Residents have been quick to respond online.

Posting on Facebook, Helen Fawcett said: "It’s a joke - the amount of time and money I spend driving to Otley four times a week is ridiculous."

Julie White said: "Yet they continue to put up the swimming lesson costs!"

Stephen Bodkin added: "Why was the presence of asbestos such a surprise? Given the era the building was erected it was, at the time, the product of preference for a host of uses."