HOLYWELL Mead outdoor swimming pool and historic Bassetsbury Manor could close in a series of shock cuts being considered by councillors.

Around 36 staff posts are also set to go, while Wycombe Museum may be relocated to reduce costs in the proposals being discussed by Wycombe District Council.

Meanwhile a major programme of improvements at Frogmoor, and the redevelopment of the fire station will be ‘frozen until the economy recovers’.

Wycombe District Council announced the proposals last night, blaming the credit crunch and worldwide recession.

The council says it needs to make savings in the region of £2million next year and a further £1m in 2010/2011.

“The council’s deficit has arisen due to a fall in major income sources such as land charges, property revenue and interest from investments,” the council statement said.

Senior councillors also blamed the ‘reduction’ in grants from central Government.

They said finances were also hit by the collapse of Icelandic bank Glitnir, in which Wycombe District Council had a £2.5 million investment.

“Whilst the council is determined to protect front line services, it anticipates that in the region of 36 staff posts will be lost by a combination of not filling vacant posts and some redundancies if the proposed savings are adopted,” the statement added.

“The job losses will be spread across the council and a process of consultation with staff and trade unions have begun.”

The cost-cutting follows a major three-month review of services.

“The bulk of the required savings will be through the reduction in staffing and changes in external contracts.

“WDC’s share of council tax is unlikely to rise significantly next year as the council is committed to ensure that rises are affordable and kept at or below inflation,” the council says, adding that the tax level will be decided in February.

Tory council leader Lesley Clarke said: “We are between a rock and a hard place with our budget.

“Our income is falling and costs rising due to recession and because the Government underfunds the programmes that we are expected to deliver.

“We are not prepared to increase the burden on the council taxpayer any more than is absolutely necessary, so we have no option other than look at how we can make savings.

“Unfortunately we are victims of the recession just like everyone else.”

But Liberal Democrats reacted with fury today. The party’s Wycombe Parliamentary Candidate Steve Guy said: “It has long been rumoured that the Conservatives running Wycombe District Council were planning a series of cuts to the grants provided to local organisations and community groups.

“However the cuts they are proposing are extremely severe and are much larger than even I could have imagined.

“Make no mistake these cuts will put at risk a number of local groups who rely on this funding to survive.

“Our Liberal Democrat group of councillors are currently studying the figures and will look for sensible solutions to this financial mess."

Mr Guy pledged to try to save Holywell Mead, which is situated on High Wycombe’s Rye.

He said: “The campaign to save Holywell Mead Open Air Swimming Pool starts today.

“This facility has been used by Wycombe families since its opening in 1957.

“It is loved by Wycombe residents who flock to the facility whenever the sun shines. I have spent many enjoyable summer days with my family at the pool.

“I want this facility to be around for my children to bring their families to in years to come. I will not let this pool close without a fight.

“I urge local councillors to think again and protect our jewel on The Rye.”

The proposed closure of Bassetsbury Manor, situated next to The Rye, could also spark controversy. It is set in beautiful grounds, complete with a bowling green and tennis courts, and is used by community groups for various events. It is also a prominent wedding venue.

The council today said the manor would not be sold but it would be closed to reduce the high running costs

"The bowling green will continue to operate," council spokesman Jeff Wilmore said.

The manor is owned by the council but operated by contractors Nexus.

The Tory-controlled council, however, pointed out that it is not alone in its plight.

“Councils across the country are facing tough spending decisions as they set their budgets – with 400 job losses at Peterborough council, 190 jobs lost at Coventry council, 50 jobs at Swindon and Oxford trying to fill a £5.7m spending gap – all announced within the last week,” the official council statement concluded.

See this site later today for updates and more reaction