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Council chiefs told rejecting top-rate pool for Worcester would be "crazy"
COUNCIL chiefs have been told it would be “illogical” and “crazy” to build a scaled-down swimming pool in Worcester not up to hosting competitions.
During a passionate debate at the Guildhall, both swimmers and politicians urged the city council to go all out for a £13.5 million, eight-lane, county-standard pool, as opposed to a cheaper six-lane option.
Neil Monkhouse, of Worcester Swimming Club, said that the downgraded option would be no better than the facility at Sansome Walk.
He told the performance management and budget scrutiny committee (PMBS): “I’m all in favour of a county-standard pool and not just for the swimming club, but for everyone. It would be illogical to go for the second option of a scaled-down pool, which would actually be smaller than one built in the 1970s.
“Clearly, there is a £5.2 million gap, but I would very strongly urge the council to try and fill that gap – it’s crazy to build something actually smaller than what we’ve got.”
Two authors of the report appeared before the PMBS committee to debate the findings. Tom Pinnington, of the Sports Consultancy, said: “You’ve got one option which is affordable, and another which you’d probably like, but at this moment in time is not affordable – that’s the situation the council is in.”
Councillor Robert Rowden, a former city mayor, said: “We don’t want to end up with a liability in 40 years’ time – whatever decision is made must be thought through carefully.” Coun Paul Denham, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: “Most right-thinking people would agree with Neil Monkhouse – it seems crazy to pay money for a facility smaller than what we’ve got.”
The pool at Sansome Walk has six lanes, but would be marginally smaller than the new one proposed under option two.
The feedback will be sent on to the Conservative cabinet, which is meeting on Tuesday.