Pool could be next on list for closure

A lifesaver. Michael Wells at last season#s doggie swims which narrowly ept the pools finances afloat. EMN-160407-154012001
A lifesaver. Michael Wells at last season#s doggie swims which narrowly ept the pools finances afloat. EMN-160407-154012001

After public outcry at the threat of closure, the community swimming pool at Metheringham has been saved by a new committee of volunteers and a grand re-opening is planned for this Saturday at 10am, but now the axe is hanging over another local pool.

Chairman of Heckington Swimming Pool Committee Michael Wells said the initial weeks of opening had been ‘disastrous’.

He said it attracted no one despite the offer of free food and a period of glorious weather. “I wonder whether it is worth the effort,” he said. “I am not being alarmist, just realistic.”

He added: “No pool makes money purely on ordinary swim sessions. I know we had a price hike on the first hour this year from £2 to £3, then it is £1 for any further hours, but we are caught between a rock and a hard place. The maximum anyone would pay would be £5.

“Last season’s community swims were disappointing so in order to continue to keep the facility running we had to increase the price. None of us wanted to do this. We have tried to raise funds with events out of season but these were poorly attended, if at all.

He added that within their running costs is the provision of free use by the school, which they are obliged to offer, but the school has reduced its swim sessions to only two days a week this year.

Mr Wells said pool opening times had been advertised: “I appreciate the weather has not been brilliant, but it has not been that bad.”

At the end of last season the pool hit the headlines by offering dog and owner swims, making almost as much money in two weeks as they had all season from community swim sessions, so they hope to do it again this year.

His wife, Diane, the treasurer, said annual running costs had gone up by £400 and if they go up any more they may not be able to afford to open next season.

The changing rooms also need new non-slip floors and the filter has a small leak

They offer swim lessons, women only swims, toddler sessions and hire the pool out for private functions which are more often for parties from outside the village. “It is a question of local support,” Mr Wells said.

He invited residents to make suggestions about what sort of sessions they would like to see at the pool, which opened in the 1970s. Leave ideas on the pool’s Facebook page.