Children must get swim lessons elsewhere while Whitchurch pool closed - MP

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has warned that a generation of children could miss out on a crucial life skill unless Shropshire Council acts to provide lessons while Whitchurch is without a swimming pool.

An artist's impression of the new Whitchurch Pool
An artist's impression of the new Whitchurch Pool

The Lib Dem MP has urged the council to make sure that enough swimming lessons are offered elsewhere and that transport is provided so that people from Whitchurch do not continue to miss out on learning to swim due to the lack of a pool in the town.

Whitchurch has been without a swimming pool since March 2020 and although plans for a replacement facility are set to be approved by councillors this week, the site is not expected to be completed until at least 2025.

Ms Morgan raised concerns with Shropshire Council shortly after being elected and has now written to councillors urging them to listen to the concerns of local people and make sure that children are not forced to miss out on key skills because of where they happen to live.

“It’s good news that a replacement pool is on the way, however there will be a generation of children in Whitchurch who miss out on learning to swim unless alternative provision is put in place while the new site is built," she said.

“Therefore it is crucial that Shropshire Council makes sure that enough capacity is in place elsewhere and that transport is provided so that children can access these swimming lessons.

“Learning to swim is a key life skill and one that no child should be deprived of because of where they happen to live.”

Plans for a new £13.1 million swimming pool and fitness centre in Whitchurch are expected to be formally approved by councillors on Thursday at Shropshire's full council meeting.

It is hoped that the building work will start in 2024 and be finished the following year.

The new premises, which would be built on the site of the old pool, will include a new pool, rooms, gym and café.

The project had initially been expected to cost between £7m and £8m, but had risen to more than £13.1m – partly due to inflation and increased construction costs.

Shropshire Council said the site had been unable to reopen since its 2020 closure after investigations discovered that work to fix a leak in the pool would be more difficult than expected.

Other swimming pool projects for the county have been dropped by the council, with plans for a replacement pool at Shrewsbury's Quarry Fitness Centre and a fresh facility at Shrewsbury Sports Village in Sundorne both cancelled.

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