Shropshire Star

Fears for swimmers' time amid Shrewsbury pool talks

Members of a special needs swimming group say they would be concerned about reduced pool time if Shropshire Council decides to build a new pool to replace the Quarry in Shrewsbury.

The Quarry swimming pool in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Sharks provides swimming sessions for people with special needs every Thursday at the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre in the town.

Shropshire Council is currently in the midst of a consultation over where Shrewsbury's swimming pool should be located and the Sharks' treasurer, Carol Johnson, said the group would not want to support any move which would make swimming more difficult.

She said: "It would be a concern if it moves and we lose a pool.

"If they cut down the number of pools then it will obviously have an effect on our pool time and that is something that would come as a concern.

"At the moment, because of the number of pools there we have a two-hour pool slot booked every Tuesday for 49 weeks of the year."

Mrs Johnson added: "In that respect we would prefer it to stay where it is if we face the possibility that we could lose out on pool time.

"It is no use having a nice brand new pool somewhere with parking if we cannot get a pool slot to use it."

However, Mrs Johnson admitted that a move to a different location could have some benefits.

She said: "It is a slightly difficult one because generally for the club we have a mixed membership.

"Obviously if it stays at the Quarry then for members who are more independent it is easy to come into town using a bus.

"But for members in group homes where they travel in by bus, parking at the Quarry is a big problem for larger vehicles so they would probably find it much easier if it was moved out of town."

She added: "If it was out of town I think the preference would be in the Sports Village area, because quite a few members use the facilities there already."

Another group which also has concerns over the loss of available water time is SY Tri, Shrewsbury's triathlon group.

Currently SY Tri trains in the pool at Shrewsbury School because there is not enough available time at the Quarry.

Sam Mountain, the group's chairman and head coach, said he was worried that any loss of water would increase the squeeze on groups looking for training time.

He said: "There is a real shortage of water for training, not just in Shropshire but all over the country.

"In Hereford they are having real trouble, it is happening all over."

"Our concern is whatever they replace the Quarry with would contain less water," he added.

"There is no way that whatever replaces the Quarry will have the same amount of water.

"We already hire Shrewsbury School three times a week for our members because we can't get sessions at the Quarry, so that shows there is not enough water already."

Despite his concerns, Mr Mountain said he backs the view that the current Quarry pool needs improving. He said: "Something needs doing to the Quarry pool, we all agree on that. It has reached a stage in its life where they need to spend money on it or replace it but our big fear is we have less water space and I think that is everyone's concern really."

Shropshire Council has put forward a number of options for Shrewsbury's swimming facilities as part of its consultation, three of which concentrate on the existing Quarry site.

The first option, costing £2,317,656, would see a refurbishment of the pool.

The second option, costing £12,808,323, would see the full renovation of the pool, while the third, costing £10,989,859 would see a new pool built on the Quarry site.

The consultation is also asking people to consider new swimming pools at Clayton Way, Oxon, at a cost of £10,624,822, at Ellesmere Road, opposite Battlefield Enterprise Park, at a cost of £10,941,971, or at Shrewsbury Sports Village, at a cost of £9,007,843.

A further option would see the pool built at Shrewsbury College, London Road.

Refurbishment of the Quarry would only give the site a lifespan of five years while all other options would last for between 20 and 30 years.

As a minimum Shropshire Council wants a 25 metre long main pool with eight lanes.

There would also be a learner pool, of 10 metres by 20 metres with moveable floor, a "water confidence area", a fitness suite with a minimum of 50 stations, and 250 seats for spectators.

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