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Panel to decide on future of Haslingden swimming pool
6:30pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in News
A TROUBLED East Lancashire swimming centre is to have its future decided by a dedicated ‘pool panel’.
Haslingden Swimming Pool is in dire need of attention after Rossendale Council decided to pull the plug on a planned revamp last September in favour of regenerating Rawtenstall’s Valley Centre site.
The baths, in East Bank Avenue, now require a £1.5million boost to be brought up to scratch as they suffer from ‘concrete cancer’.
Now Rossendale Leisure Trust, which runs the venue, will work with the council and the swimming community to look at the pool’s long-term future.
Councillor Andrew McNae, portfolio holder for regeneration, tourism and leisure in the Valley, said the panel would explore every option to benefit the swimming community – including the possibility of asking social enterprise groups to help out.
He said: “The panel is currently getting to grips with all the information we have, to identify the options.
“Once these have been agreed they will be made subject of wider consultation within the borough. What we can’t do is nothing.
“We have to develop some kind of plan of action because the council faces massive cuts in funding.”
The pool panel is due to meet with members of the social enterprise scheme which took over Ski Rossendale last year to learn from their experience.
Michael McGrath, a campaigner for the pool, said the panel had already met twice and was also looking at the possibility of replicating the community pool in Whitworth.
He said: “It would be an absolute tragedy if the pool closed.
“It has iconic status – it would be like pulling down the tower in Blackpool.
“We’re hoping savings can be found in other areas. We directly asked Coun McNae if this panel was a box-ticking exercise and he gave us his word that it wasn’t, so we live in hope.”
The Haslingden pool currently costs £137,000 a year to keep open.