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Bradford residents’ shock at pool closure plans
Dismayed residents have told of their shock at proposals to close swimming pools on their doorsteps.
The Telegraph & Argus reported yesterday how four leisure centres could close as part of a huge Bradford Council shake-up of the district’s sports facilities.
All four would be replaced by four new-build pools in the city of Bradford – although the locations are not yet known – with one large one in the city centre.
The Council is setting aside an initial £17.5 million from its 2014/15 capital spending budget to start the project.
The new-builds are expected to be so energy efficient that they would save the Council £1.7 million a year. It is hoped the plans would tackle a £7 million maintenance backlog in the district’s ailing leisure centres.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for Environment, Sport and Sustainability, said: “It is important that we look at the future needs of the district as a whole and that is what we have done.
“In 2012, we set out to develop plans for the future of sports and leisure facilities with the aim of providing high-quality, affordable facilities in the right locations that have a sustainable long-term future.
“The proposal that has come forward addresses current under-provision in some areas and future requirements by serving wider populations and being easily accessible by public transport.”
But leisure centre users in Bowling, Odsal and Queensbury could not see the point in closing the current pools.
Outside Bowling Pool, Claire Milner, 27, of Flockton Road, who had just moved to the area, said: “I was just thinking about joining up there.
“I don’t think they should shut it. There are a few people I know round here who have been saying it is a nice swimming baths, with nice warm water and nice staff.”
At Richard Dunn, Barry Abrahams, 65, of Bowling, said: “It’s not going to work. I cannot see the sense of it. I am retired. I come here because it is handy. People that live round the area want something local.”
Queensbury councillors have already reacted in anger to the plans. Coun Michael Walls (Con) said: “It’s local baths for local people. Certainly people I speak to will not go into town to go swimming, for a number of reasons.”
Coun Lynda Cromie (Ind) said the proposal called into question the future of Victoria Hall, where the pool is located, as a whole.
And Coun Paul Cromie (Ind) called the plans “another nail in the coffin for the residents of Queensbury”.
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