Monmouth group's doubt after pool meeting

PROTEST: Residents and user groups protest at the proposed closure of Monmouth Swimming Pool. Photograph: Andrew Hubert.

PROTEST: Residents and user groups protest at the proposed closure of Monmouth Swimming Pool. Photograph: Andrew Hubert.

First published in Monmouthshire news by

A MONMOUTH group campaigning for a new swimming pool in the town say they remain unconvinced it will be built, despite a meeting with Monmouthshire council last week.

Last month the county council confirmed the town’s pool will be moved to make way for its new £36 million secondary school and that a replacement 25 metre pool will be adjacent to Monmouth leisure centre.

But a member of Monmouth Swimmers, Brian Ramsey said the council had run “brilliant” consultations in the past but one run for the pool's relocation has failed to live up to that standard.

He said: “This has been done very quickly and very, very hastily. That is what has caused everyone to say: ‘Hold on, what’s going on here?’ There is no guarantee. We have only been given an assurance, promise and a pledge.”

The group is proposing that the planning application for the school is delayed so a plan for the school and the pool can be submitted together. But an amendment to build the new pool at the same time as the school was defeated at the council meeting in July.

And the group’s Barbara Wright said: “If the council have identified the funding for the pool, we do not understand why the submission of the planning application for the school cannot be delayed to include the swimming pool.”

At the July meeting, county councillors approved the decision to build the pool and to release funding for the 21st Century School Programme, including £35.1 million for Caldicot School, £3.4 million for primary school investment and £5 million towards a Welsh medium secondary school in Newport.

The council’s head of leisure, tourism and heritage Ian Saunders said the meeting with the group had been positive.

He said: “Monmouthshire’s leisure service is working closely with our 21st Century Schools team, stakeholders and user groups to consider the new pool design and a drop-in session with the community on August 7 attended by approximately 70 people in the old school gym gave us some good feedback and ideas.

“A feasibility study will also inform decisions on opportunities for new modern facilities which are currently being reviewed.”

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