CRUNCH talks have taken place between council chiefs and Britain’s swimming governing body over hopes for a new pool facility in Worcester.

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) staged sit-down talks with the city council on Tuesday in the hope the body can be persuaded to back the ambitious project.

Bosses hope ASA’s influence could be instrumental in making up a massive £5.2 million funding gap in building a county-standard, eight-lane pool.

Although ASA is unlikely to find any money of its own, grant bids to the likes of Sport England could stand a better chance of success with the organisation’s support.

Councillor Jabba Riaz, the city’s cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: “We have stated the council’s position on the swimming pool and any new funding we can get to help us will be very welcome.

“We’ve been upfront about it and as a result of that people know where we stand and what the situation is.

“All avenues are going to be explored.”

The move follows calls from rival politicians for both ASA and Sport England to be approached about the pool scenario.

As your Worcester News first revealed two weeks ago, some politicians are calling for the city’s university and even the NHS to stump up some cash to reduce the shortfall.

The authority hopes to get a clearer picture of its’ hopes during the summer. Councillor Richard Boorn, Labour’s finance spokesman, said: “There is an argument for ASA to be involved and I’d be astonished if we get a ‘zero’ under what Sport England is able to contribute.

“The association would benefit considerably if this pool gets built, we need to start seeing commitment outside of the council for it.”

The main aim of ASA is to improve swimming provision across the country and increase interest in it.

A spokesman for ASA said it was unable to comment on the talks, other than to confirm council chiefs met with a regional director to discuss the project.