September 25th, 2016

Coventry pool closure could ‘signal swimming club’s end’

Updated: 4:30 pm, May 07, 2015

COUNCIL leaders have voted to shut down Coventry Sports Centre – despite a last-ditch protest by young members of the city’s successful swimming club.

Dozens turned out on the steps of Council House on Tuesday in a bid to persuade Labour leaders to axe plans to close the Fairfax Street site and replace it with a splash pool in New Union Street.

But the council’s cabinet – which includes leader Coun Ann Lucas – voted to push on with the closure unanimously. They claimed there was no other option because the site costs the authority £2,000 every day to maintain.

A small band of opposition Conservatives oppose the plan but are likely to be out-voted by Labour councillors when it is rubber-stamped at Full Council next month.

It would herald the end for the City of Coventry Swimming Club, which is the city’s largest youth group with 650 members and around 100 coaches and volunteers.

The club will be still be able to use the Sports Centre until its closure in 2019 but bosses said the future looked unclear beyond that.

“After the closure of the pool there will be nowhere in the city for our swimmers to race,” programme manager Jo Deakins said.

“And if they cannot race there is little point in training.

“We won’t even be able to hold club championships let alone the Warwickshire Championships and other open galas which attract top talent from throughout the UK and help the club to pay its way and hire pool space and equipment.”

Chairman Frank Stoney added: “Council plans show there will be a 48 per cent reduction in public water space.

“Where will the 206,000 traditional swimming visitors actually be expected to swim after 2019? Council plans result in 18 swimmers per lane, which is totally ridiculous.”

Dozens of members turned out for the council cabinet meeting on Tuesday. 32.014.019.cov.jm4

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