Review puts open air pools under threat

A MASSIVE review of leisure services in north Suffolk looks set to put the future of two open air swimming pools at risk, the EADT can reveal today.

A MASSIVE review of leisure services in north Suffolk looks set to put the future of two open air swimming pools at risk, the EADT can reveal today.

Halesworth and Beccles pools have been highlighted in the Waveney District Council review as not providing value for money.

The news is contained in a confidential report, seen by the EADT, looking at the performance of key facilities.

Each facility was scored out of 15, but those picking up less than eight points are coming under particular scrutiny - they were Halesworth pool, Beccles pool and Halesworth Rifle Hall.


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The cost to Waveney per user of the Halesworth pool - which had 1,831 users in 2007/08 - is £13.50. The figure was £5.82 for Beccles pool, and £7.54 for Halesworth Rifle Hall.

“Overall, it is evident, based on current resource issues and feedback from the leisure needs assessment, that the council cannot achieve its strategic objectives for leisure while delivering all of its current assets and projects,” states the report, which will be discussed by the cabinet on September 25.

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It goes on to recommend that Halesworth pool is returned to its owners, the Halesworth Playing Fields Association, immediately, and would no longer be operated by the council from next April.

Rifle Hall would no longer be offered as a service from April 2009, and the council will explore options on the site in partnership with Halesworth Town Council. Potential disposal of the site would be considered, it said.

Beccles pool would no longer be managed directly by the council from next April, and officers will look at options for continued provision of the service where possible, or alternative disposal of the site “if enabling options are not viable”.

However, Waveney has said in the report it is keen to work closely with the Halesworth Playing Fields Association to see how leisure facilities can be boosted in the town.

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