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Under threat village pool to be declared an asset to the community

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: January 14, 2014

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a village swimming pool from closure are calling for it to be declared a community asset.

Gnosall’s swimming pool is part of St Lawrence Primary School, which is set to be demolished and rebuilt. But villagers were horrified to hear the new school would not have a pool.

A group has been set up to save the pool and at their meeting on Thursday they proposed registering the pool as an “asset of community value”.

Facilities such as village shops, pubs, libraries and community and sports centres and libraries can be registered as assets of community value with the local authority.

The measure was introduced as part of the Localism Act and aims to give community groups a fairer chance to prepare bids to buy local assets which are put up for sale.

If an owner of a listed asset wants to sell it they have to notify the local authority, which informs interested parties. If local groups such as parish councils, charities or community organisations are interested in buying the asset they have six months to prepare a bid before it can be sold.

Gnosall parish councillors were told about the community asset bid.

Councillor Pat Alker said: “There would be no financial implication for the parish council whatsoever.”

She added that before any firm decisions about the pool’s future were taken feasibility studies would need to be carried out, so the group would know the level of usage and what costs would be involved in taking plans forward.

“Three options are refurbishment, rebuilding or a combination of the two. Some people thought rebuilding would be better in the long run as they could have a larger pool if possible.

“There have also been suggestions for the running of the pool, such as by a community interest company, social enterprise or it could go out to tender. But if nobody is going to use it, it is pointless going ahead.”

Council chairman Roger Greatrex said: “I think we need to be aware of the running costs before we make a decision. The swimming pool at Alleyne’s (in Stone) has just had to have more than £40,000 of work and the school (Alleyne’s Academy) have had to find about £26,000 for it, which they hadn’t budgeted for.”

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