GOING, going York's Barbican Swimming Pool has finally gone, after demolition workers completed their project to flatten the distinctive pyramid roof.

Bulldozers moved onto the site at the beginning of July, three years after the controversial closure of the City of York Council baths.

The pool and the adjacent car park and bowling green are making way for a new hotel and apartments.

The site was sold by the council for £6.385 million to developer Barbican Venture (York) Ltd, which subsold parts of the site to other companies.

Golden Tulip Hotels is now set to build a 125 bedroom, four star hotel on part of the site, while Persimmon Homes is planning to build at least 230 apartments, 25 per cent affordable, on the remaining land within four years.

The pool closed its doors to swimmer, in June 2004, followed shortly afterwards by the rest of the sports and leisure centre.

The Save Our Barbican group (SOB), concerned about the loss of sporting facilities and the scale of the proposed new buildings, fought a long, but ultimately unsuccessful, campaign against the closure and demolition.

The former chairman of SOB, Ernie Dickinson, has spoken of locals' sadness at seeing it go.

He said: "When they see what is going up in its place, they will be even more upset. The site should not have been sold off for a hotel and apartments. We wanted to see an updated pool and leisure complex."

The council has said the funds raised by the land sale will be ploughed into a refurbishment of the Yearsley Pool, which is now under way, and into the construction of a new pool on the Oaklands School site, to replace the Edmund Wilson Baths.

Some of the capital is also being earmarked for a proposed joint venture with the University of York to build a new pool at Heslington.

Original plans to build a replacement swimming pool on land in nearby Kent Street were abandoned last year following delays in selling the site, which the council said had led to a reduction in the amount of money it was receiving.

The new hotel on the Barbican site, scheduled to open for business in the autumn of next year, will be linked by a walkway to the centre's 1,500 seater auditorium, which is due to undergo a major refurbishment by entertainment operator Absolute Leisure.

The company said last month that work on refurbishing the complex and on building new bars and restaurants should start "within the next few weeks," although there has not as yet been any sign of a start to the work.