A VETERAN swimmer who has visited Holywell Mead regularly for the past 51 years has pleaded for the centre to be saved.

Suzanne Grant, of Chestnut Avenue, High Wycombe, first visited the swimming pool on the town's Rye on its opening day in 1957 and has made use of it ever since.

Last year, she was awarded a certificate to celebrate her golden anniversary of using Hollywell Mead.

She said: “I do not want the pool to be closed by Wycombe District Council.

“I was there the day it first opened in 1957 and have thoroughly enjoyed my swims there.”

And she has spread her enthusiasm to her children too.

She said: “When it opened I was 12-years-old and am now 64. I used to take my children from when they were in their pram, and now I take my grandchildren.

“Hollywell Mead is a wonderful facility – please do not take it away from us.”

The swimming pool is just one of several facilities under threat after Wycombe District Council put a number of money-saving proposals forward last week.

Also being considered is the closure of Bassetsbury Manor, the relocation of Wycombe Museum, the introduction of charges for disabled people to park in council car parks and the scrapping of 36 council jobs. Grants to voluntary groups could also be under review.

Frances Alexander, former High Wycombe mayor who is a trustee of The Environment Centre next to the pool, said: “We have been watching how few people there were during the summer. I have been saying to people all the summer, 'use it or lose it. It would be a tragedy to lose it.”

Last week, Liberal Democrat Steve Guy rallied people to support the swimming pool, as well as the other services facing cutback.

“It's a very short-term reaction.

“The last thing we want to be doing in the run up to the 2012 Olympics is close any sporting facilities.

“You take away this sort of asset that a town has, you're never going to get them back.”

He said a Facebook group had been set up to support the pool, with more than 30 people signed up so far. He said the council should look into alternative was to invest in the pool and get a return on the money, such as creating a way of enclosing it during bad weather periods, or installing water slides.

And he also said the area would suffer with the prospective cuts to other services.

“There's a lot of community groups and good causes that are having either much less money than they had last year or they're having it cut altogether. They're really going to suffer tremendously.”

Cllr Glyn Galbraith, Labour leader for Wycombe said reserve funds should be used to make up the council's anticipated £2million shortfall for next year.

He said: “Loss of jobs in the current economic turmoil should be a matter of last resort.

“In the current difficult times the residents of Wycombe should be supported. There is only one consequence of taking the action proposed and that is cuts in service.”

A statement from Wycombe District Council last week said: “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 pool faces closure because of its hig=h running costs. It costs £45,000 a year but is only open for 13 weeks, according to council spokesman Jeff Wilmore. On top of this, a further £60,000 would need to be spent on it over the next two years if it stays open, he said.

Though the pool may well be scrapped, the council intends to keep the site for ‘leisure use’ and would develop it as part of a refit of the Wycombe Sports Centre at Handy Cross, he added.