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Big splash in pool development

PUBLISHED: 11:17 31 July 2009 | UPDATED: 08:23 01 August 2010

CAMPAIGNERS in Beccles are celebrating a key step forward in a three-year battle to save the town's outdoor swimming pool from closure.

Waveney District Council, which gave up running the pool in April because it was not cost-effective, agreed to hand over the running of the pool to Beccles Lido Ltd (BLL), which was formed by supporters.

CAMPAIGNERS in Beccles are celebrating a key step forward in a three-year battle to save the town's outdoor swimming pool from closure.

Waveney District Council, which gave up running the pool in April because it was not cost-effective, agreed to hand over the running of the pool to Beccles Lido Ltd (BLL), which was formed by supporters.

BLL director, Shaun Crowley, said he was “confident” the pool would open for next summer but said support from the community was crucial.

“It's good news,” he said. “We are delighted that Waveney has approved the transfer of the pool to Beccles Lido Ltd at last, although we continue to be a bit frustrated about the length of time it is all taking.”

The decision was taken by the cabinet on Tuesday to transfer the facility, with the condition that if BLL does not have funding for the pool in place by April 2011, the council will reclaim and sell the asset.

The two parties will now agree a lease or freehold transfer of the pool.

Mr Crowley said: “Until we have the lease it's almost impossible to get access to external funding - it's a chicken and egg situation.”

He said while the big money grants were still inaccessible, a concert, monthly coffee mornings and a lottery were helping to boost funds, and the group was keeping supporters updated via a Facebook page and Twitter.

He said the company was more than a third of the way to raising the £100,000 that Waveney has insisted must be invested in repairs before the pool can be opened.

“I think it's important for local people and businesses to understand we've come a hell of a long way. Waveney are now behind us and Beccles Town Council are behind us.

“What we desperately need is local people and local businesses to get behind us. We've had lots of great comments and letters, I guess what we need is for people and services to put their money where their mouth is.”

He said practical help to make repairs to the site were just as welcome as cash donations, and that such support would provide the evidence of community backing that will be needed to attract grants.

Mr Crowley said the Beccles Lido Lottery, which has sold 100 tickets, bringing in £2,500 a year, could become key to funding repairs and running costs, adding that selling 10 times that number would effectively underwrite the future of the pool.

“It's a small financial commitment for people to make but it's a massive difference to us,” he said.

Graham Elliott, district councillor for Beccles North welcomed the decision, but warned the transfer needed to be undertaken swiftly, adding: “It's good, but we must not lose momentum - enthusiasm cannot be held indefinitely.”

Beccles Lido Ltd was founded from Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool set up in 2006.

See www.beccleslido.com, or visit the company's Facebook page or Twitter account.

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