CAMPAIGNERS fighting to keep Coventry’s 50metre pool open have vowed to carry on the fight despite the council agreeing to close the site in favour of a new £37million leisure centre.
Following consultation with residents and sports organisations across the city, including Coventry Swimming Club, the council has decided to close the current centre in Fairfax Street.
It will be replaced with a new centre in New Union street which will include a 25 metre pool, a water park, a fitness suite, wall-climbing facilities, squash courts and a spa.
Over 11,000 people signed what is thought to be the city’s biggest ever petition in protest against the current centre’s closure, which remains the only 50 metre pool in the West Midlands.
But a report which is recommending the go ahead for the new £37 million pool facility claims that building a new 50 metre, which was considered as an alternative option, would cost an extra £5.5m over the 45-year period of financial modelling.
“The Sporting potential of the people of Coventry can never be achieved without top quality facilities.” said Frank Stoney, chairman of the City of Coventry Swimming Club.
“A decision not to replace the 50 metre pool will ensure the City of Coventry Swimming Club’s relegation to a ‘back water’ also ran instead of one of the top clubs in the country as they are now.”
Club secretary, Liz Sykes, added: “This recommendation is lunacy.
“The Council had the opportunity to provide for swimmers across the whole range of ability and from the whole community but have chosen not to.
“How on earth a water park will reduce obesity levels across the City is beyond me.”
If councillors agree to the new centre at a cabinet meeting on August 5 then work will begin on the current site of Christchurch House and Spire House in 2017.
The pool in Fairfax Street will remain open until completion in July 2019.
Coun Kevin Maton, cabinet member for business, enterprise and employment, said that the current centre was not sustainable because it costs taxpayers £2,000 a day to run.
He said: “We understand the concerns of everyone who signed the petition calling for a 50m pool in Coventry.
“But we’re simply not able to justify the expenses to taxpayers.
“We think our proposal provides the best option for Coventry residents in terms of affordability and for making it as accessible for as many local people as possible to enjoy.