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Swimming pool could be replaced
LEDBURY’S swimming pool could be closed and replaced with a £5.5 million sports and community complex in the next five years.
As the clock ticks on the present pool’s viability, a Herefordshire Council strategy meeting took place yesterday to discuss the future of the pool and possible new sites for a new one.
Peter Watts, one of Ledbury’s representatives on Herefordshire Council, broke the news of the potential development at a Ledbury Town Council meeting in the Market House.
He said the present pool was “safe” for three to five years, but added: “In the long-term we are looking for a new complex. The present pool is 40 years old.”
The new complex could be built on the current Lawnside Road site, while land north of Ledbury viaduct and agricultural land parallel to the Ledbury bypass have also been discussed.
“My personal opinion is that we should go with the viaduct as it will link with the new houses set to be built there,” said Coun Watts.
Following yesterday’s meeting, Coun Watts said two distinct plans were needed, one for the shortterm to “keep the pool from falling over” and a longer term brief to develop a new facility – which could cost up to £5.5 million.
A task group is being formed and should be upand- running by the middle of October.
Coun Watts said securing funding for a new pool would be one of the biggest challenges, but the likely sale of the youth centre, in Bye Street, could start the ball rolling.
“If they sell it, I want the money ring-fenced for the complex.
“It could be between £1.3 to £2.1 million, a good kick start,” he said.
He warned that just keeping the existing pool open in the interim could cost as much as £1 million.
“I think that funding will be found from somewhere because Herefordshire Council cannot afford to let it slide,” he said.
“It is vitally important to the community and I am not prepared to see it lost.
Not on my watch.”
Herefordshire Council said there were no firm plans for the swimming pool and the youth centre.
Spokesman Kerry Thomson said yesterday’s meeting was not to discuss firm plans or proposals, but “strictly to agree a common approach for planning for future leisure services for the Ledbury area”.