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Upset as Haslingden pool set for closure
HASLINGDEN Pool will close in a matter of weeks after a council decision came down to just one vote.
A packed chamber at Bacup’s Futures Park saw a last-ditch bid by the Conservative opposition and campaigners to be given 12 months so talks about a hand over could continue.
Members of the Friends of Haslingden Baths, who have spent three months consulting with council bosses in hopes of saving the pool, were among 50 protestors at the meeting on Wednesday.
The amendment to save the pool, put forward by Tory leader coun Darryl Smith, added that if the building in East Bank Avenue was sold, any funds should be spent on Haslingden, with a preference for it to go towards a new pool.
After a dramatic vote, the amendment was defeated 16 to 15 with four Labour councillors rebelling against their party in support of the motion.
Councillors Knowles, Wilkinson, Proctor and Kenyon said they could not vote in favour of closure.
Independent coun Madeline De Souza abstained from voting.
The Labour leadership were booed by campaigners but council leader Alyson Barnes said the council could not afford to keep spending £137,000 a year on the pool in times of severe cuts to local government funding.
She said: “We really wanted this to work. At the end of the day, we don't want to close swimming pools.”
Coun Andy MacNae, regeneration boss at the council, said the Friends of Haslingden Baths did not want to take over its running but were proposing to try to reduce the loss it makes by helping with marketing and providing volunteers.
The vote to shut the pool, which was built in the 1930s, was passed with 18 votes to 14, with councillors Kenyon, Proctor, Wilkinson and Knowles and Neal voting against, alongside all the Conservative councillors.
The council said closing the pool would cost £80,000 in staff redundancy payouts and £20,000 a year to keep the site secure until it is sold.
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