More effort needed to open Whitchurch’s swimming pool

Nick Saxby outside the closed Whitchurch Swimming Pool

Nick Saxby, a resident of Whitchurch and local Liberal Democrat campaigner, put questions to Shropshire Council’s cabinet on Monday this week, over the ongoing closure of the town’s swimming public swimming pool.

Mr Saxby had mixed feelings about the response given by Lezley Piction, the councillor with responsibility for Shropshire’s leisure provisions: “I listened to Councillor Picton’s responses yesterday, and was pleased to hear that the Council is committed to the reopening of the swimming centre. However, the spirit of my questions was the get more information about what has been done so far, but there was little detail on this”.

Mr Saxby had asked for the findings of any feasibility studies on reopening plans to be released, but the councillor stated that no feasibility studies, as such, were carried out. Mr Saxby commented: “They may not have undertaken ‘studies’ exactly, but Shropshire Community Leisure Trust has previously said “extensive investigations into the feasibility of reopening” took place. I heard nothing specific form the councillor other than restatements that it was impossible to open the centre”.

“Councillor Picton made it very clear that the building is not a covid-secure environment, but this is not news. We have known, and accepted this, since the beginning of lockdown. What the people of Whitchurch want, is to know exactly why/how. If we know what the issues are, we can work on problem-solving for them”.

As has already been reported, Councillor Picton revealed that an additional issue has arisen; a leak in the pool which will contribute to it remaining closed. “The revelation that there is a new problem; a leak in the pool; is a worry, but I welcome news that the Council is working to address this. I hope that they will apply the same effort to addressing the other issues”, said Mr Saxby on this issue.

Mr Saxby has been discussing the pool closure with other residents in Whitchurch, as commented: “There is overwhelming desire from people to get the pool open again. People have come forward offering help and advice, and even offers to raise funds if necessary”.

“Councillor Picton said that the Council now has a month to investigate options for the centre: What are they going to be doing in that month that they haven’t done in the past eight? Simply stating that resolving this issue is ‘impossible’ with no explanation, or opportunity for the community to collaborate and engage, isn’t good enough” says Mr Saxby.

“Councillor Picton suggested that I might want the centre to reopen at the expense of the safety of residents, visitors and staff. However, the opposite is true; I want to work on making the centre a safe place for the community. A place where people in Whitchurch can engage in activities which enhance their wellbeing, without compromising their health”.

Read more: Leak discovery further delayed pool opening