New pool step closer for Hadleigh
HADLEIGH is one step closer to getting a new swimming pool today – but the troubled issue was already causing ripples across the town.Babergh District Council has decided to accept in principle the idea of a new pool in the town.
HADLEIGH is one step closer to getting a new swimming pool today – but the troubled issue was already causing ripples across the town.
Babergh District Council has decided to accept in principle the idea of a new pool in the town.
At a meeting of the strategy committee yesterday councillors voted in favour of building a new pool and are hoping that they can get help funding the £2.27m project.
A report into Hadleigh's leisure needs prepared for the council by specialists Hayley Sharpe Consultants concluded that there was a strong need for swimming facilities in the town.
Hadleigh's current pool at Stonehouse Road is 30-years-old, badly in need of repair and could be closed down.
Accepting the recommendations made by a task group councillors decided that the new pool, which is used by hundreds of people who belong to the town's swimming club, should be built at Hadleigh High Leisure Centre, partly because it is believed a multi-functional complex will help applications for grants and funding.
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The council, which is the sole trustee of the Hadleigh and District Swimming Pool Charity who hold the pool, are now looking to the government to change the rules on the amount of money it can borrow for large capital projects. Even then extra funds would need to be raised via a bid to the National Lottery as well as Babergh having to find a further £230,000 out of its own reserves.
Speaking after the meeting Hadleigh mayor and keen swimmer Jan Byre said that she was delighted research had recognised the strength of demand for swimming facilities in the town. However she was less enthusiastic about relocating the pool to Station Road.
"We are delighted that their research project has come up with the fact that Hadleigh needs a swimming pool.
"There are many of us that will be less happy for it to move up to the high school. The current swimming pool is bang in the centre of town and the majority of people can walk to it. It's a little bit odd to put it in the furthest and highest corner of Hadleigh.
"We would prefer to see it stay in its current site but we would rather it moved than we lose it."
She added that she and fellow swimmers feared that without a pool in the town, children would revert to the dangerous practise of swimming in the river.
Town and district councillor Eileen Banks said that she was not convinced sharing the facility with Hadleigh High School would improve the chances of winning funding for the project.
Residents had raised the money themselves to fund the original pool and it was the responsibility of the district as trustee to bow to their wishes, argued the former mayor.
Press officer for Babergh, Paul Simon, said that officers would be working towards the possibility of a new pool at Hadleigh High Leisure Centre in preparation for a change of policy at national level.
"It's a question of getting all the chess pieces in the right place so that if the government chance the rules no further time is lost," he said.
The committee's decision will be discussed at the next full council meeting.