A new £5 million ‘Olympic-size’ swimming pool in Portsmouth has been built two inches too short for international competition.

The pool is 50 metres long but international pools need to have an extra two inches for touch-sensitive time boards can be installed.

The Liberal Democrat council in charge of the project have denied that they have blundered in the construction of the pool but opponents say the decision could cost the city millions.

“The way it was sold to us was we would be hosting an Olympic team of swimmers for training for the 2012 games,” said Tory councillor Donna Jones.

“But now we’re being told the pool is two inches too short and as a result the city will lose millions of pounds of revenue along with cash grants.

“The amateurs will be happy with the pool but not top-level athletes.”

Another Tory councillor Jim Fleming added: “It’s a mistake. It’s not long enough to meet Olympic standards.

“It was a council mix-up, a failure to deliver, and the cabinet should admit it and apologise to the city.”