Pools earmarked for closure by Bradford Council lost over £1 million (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Pools earmarked for closure by Bradford Council lost over £1 million
The closure-threatened Richard Dunn Sports Centre made a loss last year of nearly half a million pounds.
And the pool attracted 5,890 fewer swimmers in 2012-13 than in the year before.
Bradford Council has revealed it plans to close Richard Dunn and three other public baths and replace them with four pools in different areas.
At Richard Dunn in Odsal, running costs eclipsed takings from visitors by £494,000 in 2012-13.
Visitor numbers were also down, from 185,576 swimmers in 2011-12 to 179,685 in 2012-13.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council’s executive member for sport, described the centre as a “black hole” for cash.
The second biggest drain on the Council’s finances was Queensbury Pool, which lost £422,000 in a year.
Bowling Pool made a loss of £142,000, while Bingley made a loss of £78,000.
In contrast, projections for the four new pools – one ‘super-pool’ in the city centre and three community pools at undisclosed sites across the city – are very different.
All four are expected to run at profit, not just because of lower running costs but also because they are expected to attract more visitors.
A report into the new plan reveals each of the three new community pools is expected to bring in income of £846,000 a year from visitors – far more than Bingley’s annual visitor takings of £301,000, Bowling’s of £195,000 and Queensbury’s of £188,000.
The new community pools’ expected annual profit is £375,000 each.
The new city centre pool is also expected to make a profit of £198,000 a year.
Coun Thornton said the current pools’ falling visitor numbers was not just because people had less money to spend at the moment.
He said: “Some of that is down to the economy, but also I have got to say some of it will be about what these facilities are like.
“More modern, up-to-date facilities that people want to use are going to be better and more successful.”
Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, the Conservatives’ sports spokesman, called the projections “optimistic”.
She said: “I know Bradford is expected to increase in population in the future, so I’m sure some of these statistics are probably linked to things like that.
“I think it is very much going to depend on where the new pools are and that seems to be the crucial bit missing.”
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