A SWIMMING pool that has been running for more than 40 years will close despite a last-ditch bid to save it.

Blackburn with Darwen's executive board agreed to close the swimming facility at Shadsworth Leisure Centre, on Shadsworth Road, Blackburn, which is costing more than £100,000 a year to operate.

The pool at Shadsworth Centre, which first opened in 1974, is the first pool to close in the borough for seven years and will shut its doors for the final time on February 1.

More than £25 million has been invested by Blackburn with Darwen Council into Darwen Leisure Centre, which opened in 2010, and Blackburn College’s ‘more modern’ leisure facilities, which opened in March 2015.

The borough is also home to Daisyfield Pools.

The council said that it has over-budgeted in recent years, having a higher number of swimming pools in the borough than both the national and north west average.

In a summary report to the executive board it was claimed: ‘The operating costs for the swimming pool remain significant and are not affordable within the cash limited budget for the Leisure, Culture and Young People’s Portfolio’.

At the 11th hour, during the council's executive board meeting, Cllr John Slater, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council's Tory Group, put forward an alternative motion.

Cllr Slater asked council executives to use the money collected from fines on the bus lanes, which he said amounted to £420,000, to keep the facility open.

He also suggested the council could offer free swims for children tackling obesity and over-60s.

However, council members described the idea as 'astonishing' and blamed government budget cuts for leaving them in a position where they couldn't afford to keep it open.

Cllr Damian Talbot, who is executive member for the leisure, said: "I find it astonishing Cllr Slater is saying this.

"When I brought this committee last month Cllr Slater said the writing was on the wall for Shadsworth.

"Thanks for the suggestion Cllr Slater but I do not think it will work.

Cllr Phil Riley, who is executive member for the regeneration portfolio, said: "Money incurred from bus lane fines has to be spent on traffic related issues.

"Bus money can't be used to sort out pressures elsewhere."

Cllr Jim Smith, who is the executive member for the environment portfolio, said: "This proves why the Conservatives are unfit to run this council.

"You do not seem to have a clue about spending money which we simply do not have.

"The government is leaving every council in a mess."

The executive board described the decision as 'saddening' and all voted in favour of the decision to close it, except Cllr John Slater.

After the meeting concluded, Cllr Slater said: "We are disappointed again with the blinkered attitude this council has to government cuts.

"This was a perfect opportunity to help the most deprived families in this borough and all the people who are feeling the pinch and they chose not to."

Centurions have been using Shadsworth for two years, as they previously held sessions at QEGS,

Nick Hartshore-Evans, parent committee member of the Centurions club, said: "It's a shame as simple as that.

"If you look at the history of Shadsworth it has been dismissed for many years by the council.

"We now only have one proper swimming pool left in the borough which is all the way on the outer edge of the borough in Darwen.

"There's a big population in Shadsworth who may end up going to Hyndburn now because it's close than the ones in Blackburn.

"It's a shame that we lose facilities instead of looking to invest and improve them for future generations."