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Sainsbury's says it won't buy Bingley Pool site
A superstore has flattened rumours that it could buy the site of Bingley Pool which is set to close under Bradford Council plans.
Campaigners were concerned that Sainsbury’s, which owns the former Bradford and Bingley headquarters in the town, could snap up the pool’s site if the local authority puts it on the market.
The declaration that Sainsbury’s has “no intention of buying the site” was welcomed as “fantastic news” by lead campaigner Jag Picknett.
Sainsbury’s announced plans in 2011 to turn the building society site into a 12,000 sq ft shopping space with two levels of underground parking, a cafe and an Explore Learning Centre.
The welcome plans were put on ice earlier this year and the building in Main Street is unused, with Sainsbury’s saying it will revisit the idea next year.
The fear was that a high offer from Sainsbury’s for the pool site could mean it was more likely to close if the Council looked to make as much money as possible from its sale.
But yesterday both Sainsbury’s and Bradford Council said they had not even discussed the idea.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said the Council was still in the very early stages of its proposals to close four outdated pools and open four new ones elsewhere.
“I think that news is fantastic,” Dr Picknett said. “It means that we can keep our heritage building and it reassures Bingley that Sainsbury’s isn’t out to destroy the centre and probably gives a bit more hope that the plans for the Sainsbury’s site may still go ahead, but not be detrimental to Myrtle Park or the pool.”
Campaigners are meeting tonight to set up a committee. The idea of establishing a charitable trust, so the community can run the pool, is likely to be on the agenda.
Dr Picknett said: “If there isn’t a deal already done, it makes the process of negotiating with the Council to set up a charitable trust more possible.”
Coun Thornton said £17.5 million has been set aside to build four new pools. The plan is to have those facilities open, before any others close.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s yesterday said: “Sainsbury’s have not been approached by Bradford Council regarding Bingley Swimming Pool, and have no intention of buying the site.”
Councillor David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said he hoped that Sainsbury’s would have opened its Bingley store before the town’s pool is set to close.
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