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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Hopes of reopening Aspatria pool fade after low turnout at meeting

A mayor says it is “awful” that a campaign to resurrect a closed swimming pool received so little support.

Alan Reay photo
Alan Reay

Volunteers have given up hope of reopening Aspatria’s outdoor pool after only two parents attended a public meeting.

The event had been organised to encourage young people in the town to help secure attractions for the future.

But a very low turnout forced committee members to admit that there was not enough backing to fight for the pool.

Alan Reay, the Mayor of Aspatria, said: “I think it’s awful. There’s a lot of finger pointing but we had a meeting last week and all parents and pupils received a letter.

“There were posters asking them to come to this meeting and discuss the future of the pool, and we had two parents.

“We just have to take it that there isn’t any interest.

“There’s people that say nothing happens and we put together a meeting and ask what they want to contribute – and nobody turns up.”

The swimming pool was built in 1970 after residents raised the money to fund it, but closed for good in 2012 after severe weather damage.

In late 2010 and early 2011 freezing temperatures damaged pumps in the plant room, but a £6,000 cash grant from Cumbria County Council and insurance payouts funded repairs.

Similar problems happened in 2008, when the pool was mothballed for about 18 months.

Members of the public rallied to raise cash and a £12,000 legacy from the county council helped save the pool.

The pool is based at Beacon Hill School.

The meeting last Wednesday was meant to establish the project.

Pool committee member Duncan Stevenson said he was disappointed by the lack of support, and pointed to Lazonby as an example of how a community can run a pool.

Mr Stevenson said: “Unfortunately there was a lack of support from the community and that’s the end of it.

“I don’t think the financial issue with the pool was insurmountable. Unless there are people who are prepared to give up a lot of time and effort it’s not going to happen.

“It’s an excellent pool.”

Colin Ainsworth, a member of the pool committee, said he would instead try and put together plans for a skate park in Aspatria after young people said it was the attraction they most wanted.

Beacon Hill School declined to comment.

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