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Technicality stops debate over pool

PUBLISHED: 13:03 06 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:01 01 August 2010

Councillors have one final chance to help save their town's outdoor swimming pool from closure, after a technicality prevented members from debating the matter.

Councillors have one final chance to help save their town's outdoor swimming pool from closure, after a technicality prevented members from debating the matter.

Failure to vote on funding to support the open air pool at Beccles Town Council's next meeting could put the future of the facility in further jeopardy.

Around a dozen members of the public attended a council meeting on Tuesday, expecting members to back the finance committee's recommendation to offer a capped grant to Beccles Lido to go towards running costs, on the understanding that it would apply for funding on an annual basis.

Beccles Lido was set up after the district council voted to give up running the outdoor pool on Puddingmoor from next month, saying it was not cost-effective.

But many supporters walked out in frustration mid-meeting when it emerged that the matter could not be discussed because it had not been put on the agenda as an individual item.

Although some councillors had expected the matter to be debated at the same time as the adoption of the finance committee minutes, other members pointed out that it could only be discussed after that item, and had to be listed separately.

Members have only one more meeting before Waveney District Council's scrutiny sub-committee meets on 25 March, which will make its recommendations to Waveney's cabinet the following week.

Graham Elliott, who strongly supports keeping the pool open and is district councillor for Beccles North, said he believed some councillors may be using “delaying tactics” because of plans for an indoor sports complex to be built in the town, which would include a swimming pool.

“When Beccles Town Council finally make a decision it will have an enormous impact on the final decision made by Waveney District Council,” he said. “A vote to provide support to Beccles Lido will make it very hard for Waveney to turn down the request from Beccles Lido Limited to take over the pool.

“It is not a case of choosing between an indoor pool and an outdoor pool. They are very different facilities and there is room for both in our town.”

He warned that the council must act at the next meeting, adding: “There is no Plan B.”

A town hall spokesman confirmed that the item would be on the agenda for the next town council meeting on March 17.

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