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Future bleak for towns' swimmers

PUBLISHED: 10:34 29 September 2008 | UPDATED: 07:41 01 August 2010

YOUNGSTERS in Halesworth have probably had their last ever splash in the town's outdoor swimming pool, its owners have warned.

Tony Goldson, chairman of Hales-worth Playing Field Association, which owns the pool, said the future looked "bleak" after Waveney District Council voted to cut off its funding.

YOUNGSTERS in Halesworth have probably had their last ever splash in the town's outdoor swimming pool, its owners have warned.

Tony Goldson, chairman of Hales-worth Playing Field Association, which owns the pool, said the future looked “bleak” after Waveney District Council voted to cut off its funding.

The cabinet agreed on Thursday to give up running the outdoor pools in Halesworth and Beccles from April 2009 on the basis that they were not providing value for money.

Mr Goldson said that if nothing changed, the pool, which is well-used by schoolchildren and mother-and-toddler groups during the summer, would never open again.

“We are desperately in need of sporting facilities in Halesworth,” he said. “The swimming pool has had its support withdrawn, which means we cannot afford that pool next year. Again it's another kick for Hales-worth. In April it will not reopen.”

He added: “We haven't got £30,000, which is how much Waveney have quoted for the running of the pool per year - it's an impossibility.”

The future of the Beccles pool is also in jeopardy.

Maureen Saunders, chairman of the Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool, said she was not surprised by the decision, and was waiting for a response from the council about a new plan.

She said: “We had put a proposal in to them that we take on the running but we would need a lot more talk with Waveney because we can't manage it off the top of our head.

“We proposed that they fund it on a sliding scale and that we would talk out the details.”

She added: “We have only a few thousand pounds as we stand, and it is an expert job to run a pool, so we would need a lot of help to try to keep the pool open.”

She urged people to support the group at its AGM on October 24 at 7pm at the Bear and Bells in Beccles.

The council, which says it welcomes proposals on the future running of the pools, revealed that the Halesworth pool was costing it £13.50 per head during the past year.

Councillor Stephen Ardley, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “We are thinking big and thinking about how best to deliver leisure services right across Waveney.”

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