Campaigners could take over threatened Bingley pool to save it from closure (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Campaigners could take over threatened Bingley pool to save it from closure
6:00am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
Campaigners could take over Bingley pool to save it from closure.
The idea is being explored by a group which managed to collect 3,675 signatures in four days calling for the centre to be spared the axe.
Bradford Council wants to close four pools, said to be outdated and in the wrong places, and build four new ones in other areas.
Bingley is one of the places that would lose its pool.
The campaign group handed over their petition at a meeting of Bradford Council’s executive yesterday which was discussing the plans.
Outside City Hall, plucky demonstrators braved cool autumn temperatures in swimming costumes as they turned out to make their views known.
In the meeting, one of the campaigners, Jag Picknett, talked about the importance of the pool to local people, and put forward the idea of a community take-over.
She said there was an example of in Leeds, where Bramley Pool is managed by a community trust.
She said: “In Bingley we are fed up of being put forward as a pool that’s going to close.
“The proposal is that the community gets together and we work on a model where we could save our own pool along the lines of Bramley Pool.”
Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for sport, said the Council had to look at provision over the whole of the district and make sure as many people could access pools as possible.
He said the plan was just a proposal at this stage, and no final decisions were being taken.
But he said the plan would provide better, more accessible facilities that were cheaper to run.
The executive agreed to take forward the plans to the next stage – a series of consultations.
Outside the meeting Dr Picknett said the idea of a community-run pool had been suggested by a number of people as they collected signatures.
She said while not everybody would be keen on the idea, there would be enough people willing to volunteer their time to make the project viable.
She said: “There’s that initial feeling of, ‘What do we pay our rates for?’, but common sense does come through and we do realise that we have to take some responsibility for our facilities.”
An attempt to bar the public from part of a Council meeting was overturned by the authority’s leader yesterday.
But he warned his top team not to give away details of a secret Council document as they discussed plans to shake-up swimming pools.
Officers had recommended the public be asked to leave half-way through the executive meeting yesterday, to allow for a behind-closed-doors discussion of the plan to close four pools and open four new ones. They said a document called ‘Appendix A’, contained confidential financial or business information.
But Coun David Green said the public could remain if members of the executive avoided giving away details in the appendix, which is believed to contained detailed costings.
Also being kept secret is a report by Sport England looking at the provision of pools across the district.
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