Options for Shrewsbury's Quarry swimming pool to be put to the public - what do you think?
Plans for a new or improved swimming pool for Shrewsbury will be put to the public next month.
They are likely to include options for the pool to stay in the Quarry or to be rebuilt on the edge of town.
Shropshire Council has been considering a number of ideas to address the town's swimming facilities since July last year and has commissioned a leisure firm to draw up a series of ideas.
Currently Shrewsbury's main swimming pool is based at the Quarry and members of the public are expected to be given four options consider as part of the review.
It is understood that two options that would see the Quarry Swimming Pool refurbished, one giving it a minor "wash and brush up" refurbishment, and another a more extensive programme that would include replacement boilers and heating pipes.
Two other options will also be considered, one where a new facility is built on the existing Quarry site, but with two pools instead of three, and another where a new pool is built in the Battlefield area, possibly at Sundorne Retail Park.
Keith Barrow, Leader of Shropshire Council, said: "To ensure an objective approach, we have commissioned leisure industry experts to do a detailed review of possible options to improve swimming facilities in Shrewsbury. These include both improvements to the existing Quarry Pool as well as looking at alternative sites across the town. The final report will be made public and will highlight against each option how they will increase physical activity, how accessible they will be, as well as cost to build and on-going running costs."
Councillor Barrow has stressed that people will have their chance to voice their opinions during the three month consultation.
He said: "Once complete we want the public's views on the various options by as many different outlets as possible, including the local media – this is a promise we have made from the very beginning, and one I'm totally committed to. This consultation is planned to run for three months beginning in early March, giving people good time to consider the options and take part.
"The future of swimming facilities in Shrewsbury is something many people are hugely passionate and engaged in - and rightly so. I spent years directly helping people learn to swim and I think it's important that the future generations in Shrewsbury are able to do the same, in top quality facilities."
Andrew Bannerman, Shropshire Councillor for the Quarry area, said he believes it is vital that the pool remains in the town centre to protect Shrewsbury's economy.
He said: "From my point of view, as representative of the Quarry and Coton Hill, what is important is we value the centrality of the swimming facilities and the gym, which are of a huge importance to the town centre.
"Having swimming facilities at the Quarry is of huge economic importance to the town centre so if you shift it out you have to somehow fill that gap because it would be a serious blow to the economic confidence of the town centre."
Councillor Bannerman said that building a pool in the Sundorne area could make it less accessible for a number of people who use it.
He said: "The other point is that if you move it you are going to move it out of the town centre - and the most likely position is somewhere out in the Sundorne location - it makes it a much more difficult journey for everyone living to the south and the west of the town.
"One of the problems with moving across the town is the west to north links are quite difficult at the moment because there is only Smithfield Road to do it. That is already congested and it makes it a more expensive journey by car or by bus."
In July last year Shropshire Council agreed to move forward with a detailed review of how to provide swimming facilities for Shrewsbury.
The decision was taken because the Quarry pool is in need of work to bring it up to date.
A three-week survey on the issue was conducted before Christmas and more than 1,100 people responded with their feelings on the current facilities.
At the latest meeting of the Severn Loop Forum, members were told that respondents to the survey had criticised the Quarry pool's current condition and temperature of the water.
However, people also raised the importance of any pool being in the town centre, along with concerns about access for parking.