BOSSES at a Stone school have expressed fears that the proposed development on the town’s Westbridge Park site could lead to the closure of the pool at Alleyne’s Sport Centre.
In an official response to the plans which went on display around Stone this week, the Governing Body and Senior Leadership Team of Alleyne’s High School addressed their concerns at the plans.
A spokesman for the school said it was in the midst of an application for academy status which would provide freedoms particularly regarding funding but would not affect the current joint-use arrangement between the school and the council for use of the sporting facilities at Alleyne’s Sports Centre.
“The proposed development at Westbridge Park includes the addition of a six lane, 25 m swimming pool, which obviously would shift the funding currently received from Stafford Borough Council from Alleyne’s Sports Centre to Westbridge Park,” she said.
“Not only would this create a funding shortfall for the school, but would present the situation where two swimming pools would be in existence within the town of Stone.
“Stafford Borough Council have expressed an interest in continuing to provide leisure facilities from Alleyne’s Sports Centre for all other facilities except swimming.
“Should this situation arise and the development take place at Westbridge Park, it is likely that the pool at Alleyne’s Sports Centre will close, thus creating a major loss not only for the students of Alleyne’s High School but also the first and middle schools of Stone and the surrounding areas.”
She said Alleyne’s would continue to provide the best possible facilities to students and ensure it provided the highest quality of physical education.
Alleyne’s Sports Centre is part of Alleyne’s High School and owned by Staffordshire County Council.
The joint-use agreement between the borough council and the school allows shared use of the leisure facilities for the school and the community and has been in place since 1970 and managed by the school.
The last public consultation into the Westbridge Park development will take place tomorrow at Alleyne's High School between 10:30am and 2:30pm.
Richard Evans asked on Twitter: "How would this create problems for other schools? Access would be given to westbridge pool as happens at stafford."
Alleyne's business manager Janet Atkinson said: "At present, the first and middle schools of Stone use the pool for swimming lessons organised by the Staffordshire County Council Swimming Service.
"If the pool was to close they would no longer be able to swim here.
"Stafford Borough Council have indicated that schools would be able to swim at the new development on Westbridge Park but this poses concerns with regard to safeguarding, i.e. exclusive use of the pool and changing rooms would not be possible, costs, i.e. will schools be able to afford to swim? and accessibility, i.e. fitting in with the programme for the general public.
"There is a danger that some or all of the schools may be prohibited from continuing to offer swimming lessons, thus proving a huge loss to the children and young people of the town and surrounding areas."