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New pool for Hadleigh?

PUBLISHED: 17:35 05 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 March 2010

HADLEIGH was one step closer to getting a new swimming pool today after a task group recommended all options open for the future provision of leisure needs in the town.

HADLEIGH was one step closer to getting a new swimming pool today after a task group recommended all options open for the future provision of leisure needs in the town.

The recommendation, to be discussed by Babergh district council's strategy committee on Thursday >, comes in spite of a potential £2 million price tag attached to the cost of a new pool.

The 30-year-old swimming pool at Stonehouse Road is badly in need of repair and could be closed down.

The issue of funding was the main focus of a report into the town's leisure needs prepared for the district council by leisure specialists Hayley Sharpe Consultants.

The findings pointed to falling levels of use and satisfaction, in part due to the poor perception of the building and its interior.

Chairman of the leisure task group, David Wood said: "The current pool facilities and buildings are in a state of disrepair and falling user numbers reflect consumer dissatisfaction.

"If the district went ahead and funded the £2.27m needed to build a new pool on its own, we would have to put the council tax bills up by 20 per cent, which is probably unacceptable to most residents.

"On the other hand, were we to refurbish the existing pool, that would cost nearly £2m – almost as much as building a new one."

The task group came up with three alternatives following the consultant's report. Theses were to close the pool, spent £30,000 into a feasibility report looking at building a new pool or go ahead with plans for a new pool, at Hadleigh High Leisure Centre, subject to favourable changes in the amount of money the council can borrow and National Lottery support.

The third alternative, which was favoured by the task group, was to allow the district to keep its options open and wait for the possibility of the government allowing Babergh to change the rules as to the amount of money it could borrow for large capital projects.

Extra funds would need to be raised through a bid to the National Lottery and a further £230,000 contribution from the district council.

Babergh's head of leisure and community services, Tim Mutum, said: "We face some stark choices unless the government can be more flexible as to how much we could borrow to fund a new pool."


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