Residents demand pool is kept open
By David LennardIT was standing room only as residents packed a public meeting to discuss the future of their town's closure-threatened open-air swimming pool.
By David Lennard
IT was standing room only as residents packed a public meeting to discuss the future of their town's closure-threatened open-air swimming pool.
Waveney District Council announced earlier this year that the outdoor pools in Halesworth and Beccles would have to close.
It said that was because they did not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act and the council's insurers had refused to provide cover unless £400,000-worth of improvements were carried out.
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The public meeting was held last night at the Rifle Hall, Halesworth, and was attended by council leader Mark Bee and senior officers from the authority.
Speaker after speaker left the council delegation in no doubt that the public wanted the outdoor swimming pool kept open and also wanted to see better sports facilities in the town.
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Ian Kerrison, a member of Halesworth Town Council, presented Mr Bee with an urn and said: “If you close the pool, it will be like putting the last nail in the coffin of Halesworth's sports facilties.”
Ezra Leverett, chairman of the Halesworth and Blyth Valley Partnership, added: “We all want to see the desperately poor sporting facilities in the town improved, but we also want to keep what amenities we do have and that is why the pool has to be kept open.”
The council delegation heard there were only two football pitches for the 13 teams in Halesworth and the town's cricket and hockey clubs had folded because of a lack of appropriate pitches.
Mr Bee said he had postponed any final decision to close the pools and had asked officers to investigate ways of meeting the legal and safety requirements necessary to keep them open “temporarily” for the next two years.
“I cannot say that we can keep the pool open this year, but we are still looking at ways this could be achieved so that we have more time to find ways of funding the major improvements that are necessary,” he added.
Mr Bee promised to set up a working party made up of representatives of the district council, Halesworth Town Council and sporting organisations of the area to come up with a “proper plan” so that facilities could be improved.