Plan revealed to save Heysham swimming pool
Heysham High School wants to save Morecambe's only public swimming pool by making it part of a community sports centre.
Head teacher John Shannon revealed plans to build a new reception area at Heysham Community Pool which is threatened with closure in September.
The reception would be joined to the school’s fitness suite to create a sports centre for the local area.
The plans are subject to a successful bid for Sport England cash and planning permission from Lancaster City Council.
The building is under threat of closure on September 30 because Lancaster City Council. operators of the pool, will hand it back to owners Lancashire County Council on that date to save money.
Supporters are worried the pool will then close unless the school’s takeover bid bears fruit.
“We are working with relevant partners and we are still keen to take on the pool,” said Mr Shannon.
“We are about to submit a capital bid to Sport England.
“We are aware of the (September 30) date so we have put in a planning application for the reception, trying to remove any barriers if it is approved, so there are no delays in taking over the pool.
“We realise the important part the pool plays in our community and we hope to become a sports centre for the locality.”
Meanwhile talks continue over a similar situation at Carnforth Community Pool.
Nearby Carnforth High School wants to take over the pool on Kellet Road to stop it closing. Head teacher Vicky Michael and chair of governors Mike Dudfield met with Carnforth Town Council on June 21 hoping to find a solution. The school is putting together a plan to take over the pool but costs are high.
The town council wants to work with the school to get the pool established as a community asset if necessary.But Coun Paul Gardner said they hoped the new Conservative-led county council would “keep its manifesto promises to reverse the closures of public assets of the previous administration”.
“We want the pool be saved,” said Coun Gardner.
“The pressure on the school to be able to take it over without financial support is unfair and the town council will now do all it can to support the pool and school’s wish to expand their leisure facilities by taking it over in the longer term.
“People are very unhappy and angry. It is almost too late. We, and the people of Carnforth, will fight this proposed closure hard.”
A public meeting will be held at Carnforth High School on Thursday, July 6 at 5pm.
Representatives from the county council, the high school, Carnforth primary schools whose pupils attend swimming lessons at the pool and Carnforth Otters swimming club will be invited to attend, along with many residents.
More than 450 people have signed an online petition set up to save Carnforth Pool.
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Suzanne Lodge, chief officer (health and housing) for Lancaster City Council, said: “Originally (the pools) were due to be handed back on March 31, but an extension was agreed by council as part of the budget through to September so work can take place on developing a business case for their take over by the schools to which they are attached. Progress continues to be made and further information on the outcome will be made available as soon as possible.”
Gary Pearse, head of the estates service for Lancashire County Council said of Carnforth pool: “We’re still looking into options to try to keep the pool open.
“Once we have something more formal, we’ll be able to let the community know about it.”