Plans for an 'essential' swim school in west Suffolk have been deferred after hearing of neighbour complaints. 

West Suffolk Council's planning committee met on Wednesday to discuss proposals to change the Bury Road residential swimming pool in Newmarket into a school. 

Due to its residential setting, the pool often attracts children with SEN needs who find it difficult to be in crowded municipal pools.

The meeting heard there was "real upset" among neighbours particularly due to "countless cars and obstructions". 

Stephen Redhead, the pool’s owner, believes the service provided by the l pool is essential to the town.

He said: “We hear about children drowning every year, so this is a vital life skill.

“Local pools are all cavernous, massive places and these children often find it difficult there.”

Speaking as a resident and neighbour, Cllr Rachel Hood insisted the use of the pool in a business setting affected the amenity of its neighbours.

She added: “This application has caused real upset and I completely disagree with the picture that’s being presented by the officers.

“The neighbours will tell you that there have been countless cars and obstructions.”

Mr Redhead, on the other hand, maintains that suggesting its neighbourhood is a quiet area “paints a false picture”.

An objection raised by one of the neighbours also argued the Newmarket Leisure Centre already has teachers trained to help SEN and autistic children.

However, Cllr Jon London, said there is still “a requirement for extra capacity in Newmarket for swimming lessons”.

Although the planning application has been labelled as ‘retrospective’, meaning consent for the use of the pool as a business had not been sought beforehand, Mr Redhead has assured he enquired about the matter with the town council months in advance and had no response.

The owner still believes an agreement can be reached before the next meeting with the neighbours who have submitted constructive criticism to himself and the council.

Councillors will now perform a site visit before considering the application again.