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Meeting gives hope for future of pool

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:43 01 August 2010

THOSE campaigning to keep the threatened Beccles open air pool open received a boost to their hopes in a meeting with Waveney officers this week.

The hard-up district council announced recently that it would not manage or open the pool from April 2009 - now it has agreed with the Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool to set up a project team, with representatives from the district and town councils, to explore ways in which the popular facility can be kept available next year and beyond.

THOSE campaigning to keep the threatened Beccles open air pool open received a boost to their hopes in a meeting with Waveney officers this week.

The hard-up district council announced recently that it would not manage or open the pool from April 2009 - now it has agreed with the Friends of Beccles Open Air Swimming Pool to set up a project team, with representatives from the district and town councils, to explore ways in which the popular facility can be kept available next year and beyond.

Friends chairman Maureen Saunders said they were more hopeful now that it could be saved, though it was down to funding.

“Waveney does want the pool to stay open as part of its enabling agenda, and is prepared to support a new company to own, open and manage the pool,” she said.

“We made a presentation to various Waveney councillors and leisure managers and they have agreed to work with the FoBOASP to determine the viability of the pool under FoBOASP, or a newly established management company.”

After the presentation Barry Bee made a passionate closing speech, saying that Beccles was losing so many of the things that made it unique and which were part of its heritage. There was so little by way of leisure facilities in Beccles, and that the pool should be saved.

On Friday a sub committee of the FoBOASP met with Vicky Collins and Stuart Everett from Waveney's leisure services, and district councillor Graham Elliott, to discuss the enabling of Beccles pool.

“It was agreed that those present plus councillor Chris Punt will form the project team, and an invitation would be sent to the mayor (David Smith), asking for a Beccles Town councillor to join the team. The project team will meet again on Saturday, October 25, to begin the process of enabling,” Mrs Saunders said.

The Friends have their annual meeting next Friday at the Bear and Bells public house in Old Market and that will be followed at 7.15pm by a presentation of the current status of the initiative, how the pool can be saved, how FoBOASP and Waveney propose to do so, and how anyone who is interested in becoming involved can help. Waveney representatives will be there.

Mrs Saunders said yesterday: “We are going to give it our best shot. We need Waveney to put in the same amount of money as they have done before, but we are hoping that can be managed on a sliding scale. The idea is that Waveney will provide management and staff if we can thrash something out.

“Waveney has indicated it might be able to help in some way. We have now got our toe in the water, though there is a lot that needs doing.”

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