MUCH-NEEDED refurbishments to a city swimming pool can now start after councillors agreed to a £100,000 loan.

The Worcester Citizens Swimming Bath Association, which runs Lower Wick Swimming Pool, wants to replace the ageing lining of its pool and refurbish tired changing rooms in the next two months and called on Worcester City Council for a £97,806 loan to help carry out the work.

The total cost of the work - including replacement of the pool's lining, refurbishment of the changing rooms and reception area and replacement of the pool's filters - would be £195,000.

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Gary Kibblewhite, chairman of the swimming pool association, said the loan would help to teach more than a thousand children a year to swim.

He said: "We really needed this support to allow us to go forward on a timescale which meant we could match fund and with a minimum closure.

"I really do thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you all very much."

The council's policy and resources committee unanimously approved the loan on Tuesday (November 5).

Councillor Marc Bayliss said the swimming pool was at the heart of the community. He said it had served as a training ground for learners for many years and still does an important job.

Cllr Bayliss said he was "delighted" to be able to agree to the loan.

The much-needed repairs have been discussed for a number of years culminating in a £15,000 request from the council to replace the 15-year-old lining and refurbish old floors around the pool last September.

Councillors delayed a decision to allow for proposals for wider improvements to come forward and to discuss alternative methods for funding.

The council met with swimming pool bosses about the possibility of a loan rather than grant funding to allow the swimming pool to receive more money for repairs.

Patch repairs had been made to the pool but a survey said the pool lining must be replaced within the next 12 to 18 months.

The pool was self-funded until 2012 but around £50,000 of council money has been required to pay for a number of refurbishments including £10,000 for roof repairs in 2012, £7,000 for energy-saving insulation in 2014 and £33,500 for more energy-saving work in 2015.