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Revisit swimming pool plans now you're back in power, urges Worcester MP
WORCESTER'S MP has put pressure on the new Tory-led council to take a fresh look at the city's swimming pool plans - urging them to aim for the best facility possible.
Your Worcester News can also reveal how the Conservatives have now placed the £6.5 million plan under review, and are not ruling out trying to re-visit old proposals for a £13 million, Olympic-standard site.
The old Labour administration, which was ousted last week in a shock coup, had shelved hopes of spending £13 million on an eight-lane pool after saying the city couldn't afford it.
The decision enraged Worcester Swimming Club, which said the city is crying out for a competition-standard pool.
Worcester MP Robin Walker has now urged the new Conservative leadership to re-visit those old plans to see if they can be rescued - even if it means some kind of partnership with the private sector.
A vote on a new £6.5 million, scaled-down pool was expected at last week's full council meeting but was called off amid the debate over the leadership.
Mr Walker said: "I've spoken to them on a number of occasions and asked them to look at this again.
"Clearly, the swimming club were very keen for the council to be ambitious and not have a 'downgrade', and I'd like to see an ambitious proposal going forward.
"I'd have thought a bigger, better facility would attract more visitors and it would really help in terms of Worcester's positioning, to say 'we are an excellent place' for sport.
"I've had a number of constituents complain over the state of Sansome Walk swimming pool.
"I'd like them to explore all the options, of course it'll have to full costed, and come up with a proposal."
The Conservative leadership says it is committed to "a fresh look" at the project.
Councillor Marc Bayliss, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: "We will be looking at all the evidence to make sure we end up with the best Worcester pool can get and afford.
"This council is committed to get a new swimming pool, it was our priority before we lost control last year.
"We need to get out and deliver."
The £6.5 million project involves revamping Perdiswell Leisure Centre and building an extra wing onto it, and subject to council approval would be open by the end of 2015.
The cash would be borrowed under a 40-year mortgage with an interest rate of 4.4 per cent.
The old £13 million plans involved building a completely new leisure centre at Perdiswell, before knocking the existing site down.
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