Council leader says pools may stay open

TWO open air swimming pools which are set to close may stay open for this summer and the next, according to the leader of the council planning to shut them.

TWO open air swimming pools which are set to close may stay open for this summer and the next, according to the leader of the council planning to shut them.

Waveney District Council announced last week plans to close the open-air facilities in Halesworth and Beccles this year because £380,000 of work was needed to bring them up to modern-day standards before they could be insured.

But council leader Mark Bee will ask officers to find a way of keeping the two pools open for the next two summers at an executive meeting tonight.

He also feels that the decision should be made by the whole council and not by the executive at Lowestoft Town Hall this evening, while public meetings in both towns later this month have been organised to discuss future sports provision.


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Mr Bee said: "I don't think we have got the full picture and I will ask for the decision to be deferred for three weeks while officers look into patch-up jobs on the pools for this year and next to satisfy the insurance company."

However, he warned it would just be a stay of execution until new swimming and sports facilities were built in both towns as the long-term future of the pools still remains limited.

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"Provided it's not going to be horrendously expensive, it may be worth spending a few thousand pounds keeping the pools open while we look into new sports projects in both towns," Mr Bee added.

Public meetings on the issue will take place in Halesworth's Rifle Hall at 7pm on March 22 and Beccles Public Hall at 7pm the following evening.

Mr Bee said: "It will give us the opportunity to find out what the public has to say and what sports provision they want in the future."

The news was welcomed by Halesworth international veteran swimmer, Neil Howell, who grew up in Beccles.

"I'm absolutely delighted. It shows a little bit of promise and I hope a lot of people turn up to the public meeting," he said.

Although there are plans afoot for new sports facilities in both towns, the proposals for Beccles – an indoor pool, fitness suite, hockey pitch and changing rooms – are at more of an advanced stage than those for Halesworth.

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