Concerns over prolonged closure of north Shropshire swimming pool

Fears have been raised that the prolonged closure of a town swimming pool could be having long term impacts on health and wellbeing.

Whitchurch Swimming Centre. Pic: Google Street View
Whitchurch Swimming Centre. Pic: Google Street View

Father-of-two and Liberal Democrat campaigner Nick Saxby has called for answers from Shropshire Council over Whitchurch Swimming Centre.

Mr Saxby has now asked the council to explain why changes cannot been made to allow the pool to reopen, while measures have been put in place to allow other facilities elsewhere in the county to do so.

In a public question submitted ahead of a meeting of the authority’s cabinet next week, Mr Saxby says: “The closure of Whitchurch Swimming Centre is understandable in the context of the Covid outbreak.

“Public health and safety is paramount, and it is reasonable to have closed the pool to prevent the spread of disease.

“However, the perceived permanency of this closure is becoming frustrating to people in Whitchurch.

“It is unlikely that social distancing measures will be removed any time in the near future, therefore, we should be looking to do everything we can to adapt to them.

“Simply closing the pool with no ambition to find creative solutions does not seem to be in the public interest.

“People in Whitchurch are becoming increasingly fed up of the town being a low-priority for the council, and the swimming pool is just one example.

“I believe the council should be proactive and solution-oriented to show Whitchurch it is concerned for the town’s wellbeing.”

Nick Saxby

Under the current arrangements, Whitchurch residents are being advised to use swimming centres in other towns, such as Market Drayton.

Mr Saxby said: “I believe access to a public swimming pool is a reasonable expectation for a town of our size, a town which is also growing.

“I have two young children, both of whom were learning to swim at the pool just before the lockdown.

“It saddens me that my children are potentially being disadvantaged by losing access to our local pool, so I felt that I had to try and take some sort of solution-oriented action.”

The trust said in a statement in September that “extensive investigations into the feasibility of reopening Whitchurch Swimming Pool” had taken place, and Mr Saxby has asked whether these findings can be made public.

He has also raised concerns around the financial implications of the closure, and his submitted question asks for details of the extent to which the council is still paying for contracted services.

Mr Saxby said: “I look forward to hearing how we can move forward with this. I believe that if our community is properly engaged, we can all work together on a solution.”

The matter will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

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