WORCESTER’S prospective new swimming pool could get a major sponsor to help reduce the multi-million pound cost to taxpayers, it has emerged.
Council chiefs have revealed they are prepared to hand over sponsorship rights to a private sector company – preferably Worcester based – to help fund the ambitious project.
It raises the prospect of the massive new facility, planned for land next to the existing Perdiswell Leisure Centre, becoming the Worcester Bosch swimming pool or even the Worcester News pool.
Councillor Jabba Riaz, the cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “This is absolutely something we are prepared to look at.
“We won’t be doing anything at this stage because we haven’t taken a final decision on the pool yet, but once that decision has been made, we will look at it.
“We would be looking for anyone who fits in with Worcester’s mentality and benefits the city – at the end of the day we need to consider anything which reduces the overall costs to taxpayers.”
The idea was first raised in October when Coun Stephen Hodgson, who chairs a panel which examines the authority’s finances, said it is routine for sports stadiums to find sponsors.
Typical arrangements include naming rights as well as opportunities to use the company’s name inside the facility.
Worcester’s prospective new pool will cost anywhere between £10.5 million and £13.5 million, with bosses examining ways of funding it. It features an eight-lane, 25-metre pool, creche, soft play areas, gym, exercise studios, wet and dry changing rooms, party or exhibition room, cafe, viewing gallery and 415 parking spaces.
It is likely that a large slice of the sum will need to be borrowed, although Lottery funding and the future sale of the land Perdiswell Leisure Centre sits on could also contribute.
If the pool goes ahead the current Perdiswell site will be demolished once the new facility opens in early 2016. The city’s planning committee has approved an outline application for it.