GNOSALL residents are making waves over the proposed closure of the school swimming pool - but a deal to save it could be in the pipeline.
Parents reacted swiftly when they received a letter last Friday from Gnosall St Lawrence CE Primary School, which is set to be demolished and rebuilt, saying the new school would not have a pool.
They set up a Facebook page which attracted 400 likes in the first 24 hours as word spread about the facility - which is also used by the community.
The group are hoping to meet county councillor Mark Winnington, who has devised a plan to save the pool, but in the meantime the Newsletter understands there is commercial interest in running the pool as a business.
Work on the new multi-million pound school, which is funded by the govern- ment's education funding agency, is expected to begin the new year.
It will be built on the same site as the existing school but will be smaller.
In a letter to parents on Friday, head- teacher Trish Edwards said the new school would not have a swimming pool.
The existing pool could close as early as next April but Mrs Edwards said she would fight to keep it going as long as the
existing school was open. She said: "I have been able to continue
to run the swimming pool this year because of the increase in numbers of children that attend the school. However I cannot guarantee this into the next finan- cial year but you have the governors' and my assurance that we will do all we can to try to keep the swimming pool going as long as we are in this building.
"However once we go into another building the county council have made it very clear to me that the running of the swimming pool will no longer be within the ambit of the school."
She said she had asked county council- lors Mark Winnington and Ben Adams to address the issue urgently.
Michelle Longworth, one of the organis- ers of the Facebook page, attended the school and raised funds to put a roof on the pool. Her own children are now pupils there.
She said: "We did it to let people know - a lot of people didn't know. It would be used more if it was run as a business. I would much rather go to Gnosall than Stafford. Everything is up in the air."
Writing on the Facebook page, Helen Simkins urged people to fight the closure. Another Facebook supporter Emma
McCarthy said: "It would be such a shame to see it close. I grew up in Gnosall and know it would be a real loss to the village. Is there a possibility that you could
express interest in a community asset transfer and have the pool run by the community?”
Karen Heins Watkins said: "I am absolutely behind this. Gnosall needs these essential services. How will other leisure facilities cope with the amount of extra children all these proposed houses will bring. Swimming is so important."
Councillor Kenneth Williamson said: "It's an important facility for the village in terms of recreation for the whole village not only for the children's benefit. That's why it should be saved."
County councillor Mark Winnington said: "If the development happens we should ask that the village gets some ben- efit. I'm not saying it should happen but if it does there should be some community benefit."
Ward councillor and leisure portfolio holder Mike Smith said: “I understand one of the developers is going to refurbish it.
“Some of these developers might be pre- pared to fund it but that depends on get- ting (legal money) which can be used for that kind of thing.”
No-one from the school was available for comment at the time of going to press.