Council pulls plug on baths
Reporter: ROBBIE GILL
Date online: 03 July 2014
SPIRALLING repair costs have forced the council to pull the plug prematurely on Crompton’s swimming pool.
Replacing the boiler at the ageing sports centre could cost up to £50,000 - and even that wouldn’t guarantee the pool’s use until the opening of the new Royton Leisure Centre in 2016, when the pool was intended to close.
The pool - known as Shaw baths - has been off-limits since March and has cost £40,000 in repairs over the past two years. All non-swimming facilities remain open.
Karen Burston, team manager of Crompton Classics swimming club — members of which turned up at a protest yesterday — fears that without the pool, the club will have to shelve plans for a merger with Royton and this might threaten the club’s existence.
She said: “We’re devastated. We had planned to merge with Royton, using both pools until the new one is built. Now there isn’t enough space, I don’t know what will happen. It’s a crying shame.”
The council is investigating the possibility of creating permanent dry leisure facilities for Shaw at the nearby Lifelong Learning Centre.
Joanne Lewis-Ryan, secretary of the Friends of Shaw Baths, said: “We always had a thought something like this would happen. It will be hard to believe what the council says now.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition party in Oldham, and local Shaw councillor Howard Sykes is furious at the decision.
He said: “The people of Shaw deserve better than to be treated like this. Just £50,000 could have kept the pool open for hundreds of users. If this was elsewhere in Oldham the cash would have been spent.”
In 2012, a survey showed the building needed up to £1.2million to be spent to give it a long-term future. Councillor Jenny Harrison, Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said: “We’ve done everything possible to keep it open. The scale of the repair means it is not possible to keep it open any longer.”
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