County council leaders are set to meet up to discuss how to keep a Northampton swimming pool open for business.
The pool on the grounds of Barry Road Primary School has been handed back to Northamptonshire County Council as the school felt the running costs were a ‘financial risk’ to their budget ahead of their move to academy status next month.
As the county council tries to find £70 million of savings, it faces a real risk of closure unless a deal can be struck. More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition to keep it open.
But Labour county councillor Danielle Stone says the Northampton Leisure Trust, also known as Trilogy Leisure, is willing to take the pool on, but the deal needs to be better.
She told the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday: “This is a school pool that is threatened with closure. They have ran out of money to run it and have handed it back to the county council who are proposing to cut it. Cutting it will harm the children that use it.
“A proposal has come in for a Trust to take it on but the proposal from the county council says they have to be 100 per cent responsible for the maintenance and refurbishment, but the council wants 50 per cent of the profit. It’s not an appealing offer and the alternative is demolition.”
She went on to say: “I think it’s absolutely an area where capital expenditure could be used, and it would be better than the cost of demolition. Demolishing it will still cost us and will be a waste of money.”
While school pupils used the pool, which dates back to 1903, it has also been open to hire to private swimming tutors. Four teachers previously told the Chron that selling the pool to a leisure trust would ‘kill off’ their business.
The cabinet meeting saw council leader Matt Golby offer to set up a meeting to explore the pool’s future further, saying: “Maybe we can get a meeting together to do everything we can to keep it going.”
Councillor Stone added: “It’s really good of Matt to offer to meet.”