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Council hopes to bank £500k towards its replacement
A CRUMBLING Worcester swimming pool is going to get a “site evaluation” next year – with council bosses hoping a landmark sale will boost the city’s ambitious leisure centre dreams.
The Sansome Walk pool, which dates back to the 1970s, will be examined in February in a bid to get a realistic market valuation of its worth to the private sector.
The two-acre site’s value is currently unknown, but given the location relatively close to the city centre, hopes are high it should bring in at least £500,000.
The recent leaps and bounds in the housing market are also giving hope that it could be seen as a lucrative catch for a developer looking to build property.
The city council hopes the cash will be put towards its aim of opening a massive new swimming pool at Perdiswell, which it is estimated will cost up to £13.5 million.
During a cabinet meeting over the proposals, the Labour leadership also insisted it wanted the new site to be “much more than a pool”.
It comes a week after your Worcester News revealed how talks had started over the possibility of an indoor cricket facility being placed inside it. Sport England, which will be examining a bid for up to £2m towards the pool over the coming months, says extra facilities inside will help the council’s cause.
Councillor Roger Berry, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I think we’re in a good position over this bid and I’m optimistic about it. The pot of money we are bidding for is from Sport England’s iconic facilities fund, and that to me suggests we’ve got to provide facilities other than a swimming pool.
“The support we’ve got from the Amateur Swimming Association is critical and I look forward to getting the bid in.”
The council has been given two options for building a new pool, one of which costs £10.7m and has six lanes.
The more expensive option would include eight lanes and cost £13.5m, but there is a £5.2m funding gap to be bridged.
That includes £500,000 from the proposed Sansome Walk sale, but the estimate dates back to June.
Under the proposals, subject to council approval in June next year the new facility would open in 2016, and the current Perdiswell sports centre would be demolished.