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Hollywell Mead pool group pledged to continue fight
RESIDENTS who failed win council support to re-open Hollywell Mead swimming pool last night pledged to continue their fight.
They formed a “Friends of Holywell Mead Pool” group to “fundraise for the pool, promote it and work in partnership with a future provider”.
Wycombe District Council closed to pool earlier this year to save £66,000 a year and this week rejected the supporters’ business plan to keep it open.
This included opening the pool all-year-round, fitting a telescopic roof and getting water sports groups to use the pool more regularly.
A statement from the supporters said: “The group feel that it is vital that the pool re-opens next April and are willing to share their expertise and work with the council to improve attendance through marketing and it's strong community position.
“The group feel that there are thousands of pounds in grants that can be secured especially with the 2012 Olympics imminent.
“Despite the rejection by Wycombe District Council, the group agreed that they continue to be 'wholly committed' on their aim to keep the pool on the Rye and get it opened again as soon as possible.”
It has now written to Conservative council leader Lesley Clarke to offer the group’s services, particularly to market and raise cash for the pool, by The Rye.
The statement says: “Once a positive response is received the group will hold a public meeting for all those who wish to help with the new group.”
In its response this week the council said health and safety requirements had not been met and the business model contained “fundamental flaws”.
This included too low staff numbers, a high dependence on volunteers and a “rather simple demand and usage model” (see link, bottom of story).
More than 2,500 people signed a Liberal Democrat petition and forms printed by the South Bucks Star calling for the pool to be kept open.
Lib Dem councillor Julia Wassell said the council’s questioning of the plans was “like walking into the Dragon’s Den and being interrogated”.
She said: “The pool is one of the council’s most attractive assets which the council itself failed to improve and market.
“The council’s cabinet have a cheek to criticise the genuine proposals of local people when they should have been working alongside them to produce a mutually agreed plan.”
She said the group had planned to buy in a provider “who would have had the required expertise to run a pool including health and safety aspects”.
Cllr Wassell said: “The council should be grateful to have such decent and accomplished residents prepared to give up their time in this way.”
Cllr Clarke yesterday said there were no plans to sell off or re-develop the pool.
Proposals have been put forward by WDC to keep the site for community or leisure use. This would be binding on any owner of the land.