We need to "think big" over swimming pool, says former Worcester City Council leader (From Worcester News)
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We need to "think big" over swimming pool, says former Worcester City Council leader
A FORMER leader of Worcester City Council has urged the authority to “get it right” over a new swimming pool - insisting we must “think big”.
Councillor Robert Rowden, who led the council for two years back in 2000, said the city cannot afford to get the new pool wrong at Perdiswell.
As your Worcester News revealed last month, the Labour administration is shelving ambitions for an eight-lane, £13.5m pool because of concerns over leaving taxpayers with a 40-year bill.
It is still intent on getting a new facility, but is now aiming for a six-lane pool which is likely to cost around £10.7m.
Councillor Rowden said: “It’s very important we get this thing right - this is a growing city with a growing university and we need to think big, not small.
“It’s like a young man with a motorbike, and his wife has triplets, and tells him ‘you better go and get a car’.
“He then goes away and comes back saying ‘I’ve got a lovely little car’, but it’s a two-seater.
“I hope we are thinking big about this.”
He also said the council should consider approaching other possible funders again, like the University of Worcester, to see if they can contribute to the costs.
Both the university and Worcester College of Technology have both been approached in recent months, but no funds have been forthcoming.
His comments, made during a full council meeting, led to the current leader, Labour Councillor Adrian Gregson, saying work is continuing.
“We will continue to be open to offers from the university, although so far they have said no,” he said.
“We are still exploring all our options.”
The Labour leadership wants to reduce the costs by securing what it calls “enabling development” on the site, most likely a supermarket.
The council is trying to get £2m from Sport England to help fund a new pool, but despite interest from one mystery supermarket, is yet to secure a deal for the land next to it.
But a six-lane option has been criticised by Worcester Swimming Club, which says the current Sansome Walk swimming pool is the same size.
Under the proposals, if a new pool gets built the Sansome Walk facility would be demolished and the land sold off.
The current sports centre at Perdiswell will also be closed and knocked down.
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