Positive steps towards saving swimming pool

Metheringham residents are pulling together to save their village swimming pool from closure.

Two weeks ago, the parish council and the swimming pool committee announced they were going to close the community pool due to declining user numbers, rising costs and a lack of money needed to refurbish the facility.

The parish council, which has been subsidising the pool, could not allocate the funds to carry out all the work without more detailed costings, leading to the decision.

In 2010 the council had given £1,000 towards the pool’s costs, last year it has cost the council more than £8,000.

There was an immediate outcry from a number of residents against the proposed closure and a public meeting called by the council saw in excess of 100 people turn up at the village hall last Wednesday to offer support.

Parish council chairman Joanna Finnegan said: “The feeling was that they wanted, by hook or by crook, to keep the pool, as an important asset in the community.”

Coun Finnegan said the pool’s aging boiler was due for replacement and a pump also needed replacing. The council had offered some start-up money to the committee but with the rising cost of lifeguards, changing rooms needing refurbishment and other items it added up to about £20,000 needed, she said.

At the meeting over 20 interested residents offered their skills and expertise to help make the pool more sustainable. Details will be firmed up at a second meeting.

In the meantime, the parish council is offering the start-up money to open up for this season.

Coun Finnegan felt the threat of closure has shocked villagers into action, fearing if the pool didn’t open this year it would have been harder to kick start things next year.