New group leads battle to save pools

Fight to save Hindley Pool at a meeting at Wigan and Leigh Hospice to form the comittee
Fight to save Hindley Pool at a meeting at Wigan and Leigh Hospice to form the comittee
0
Have your say

CAMPAIGNERS have formed a committee to oppose proposals which could result in the closure of two swimming pools.

In order to save the council half a millions pounds, Wigan, Leisure and Culture Trust has recommended community organisations and volunteers take over the running of Hindley Pool, in Borsdane Avenue, and also Tyldesley Pool, in Castle Street.

But the idea has provoked fury among residents, because if no-one steps forward, the baths could close.

Under the name Save Our Swimming (SOS), members of the community have joined together with councillor Jim Ellis in the hope of saving Hindley Pool.

Coun Ellis, of Hindley ward, said: “During our first meeting we discussed how flawed the trust’s report is. The council and trust have not really identified how it is going to happen.

“The usage figures, which form the basis of their recommendations do not add up. Where is the evidence to suggest that when Wigan Pool closed in 2008/09, users went to Hindley?

Eileen Blake, 63, of Hindley, worked at the pool for 37 years and praised its excellent disabled facilities and fears there will be nowhere else for wheelchair users to swim,

As a committee member, she said: “The disabled facilities are absolutely brilliant.

“When it opened eight years it was a big thing for people because there was nothing like it anywhere near.

“No-one else can compare. The other leisure centres and baths have disabled facilities, like a hoist and suitable changing rooms, but on top of that, Hindley has beds, which have a hoist which will raise the person directly, without any need for manual lifting.”

Stephen Normington, Wigan Council’s service director for the economy, said: “No final decision has been taken over the future of Hindley Swimming Pool at this stage.

“The council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust have embarked on a consultation exercise with the community, pool-users and other interested parties.

“We are looking at the options that will allow the pool to remain open and have asked for expressions of interest from groups and organisations that may be interested in taking over the running of the pool. We would urge all those who have concerns and suggestions to take part in this process.

The council has produced an information pack for anyone interested in running one of the pools. Apply to Wigan’s Head of Culture and Leisure Penny McGinty, c/o Katie Long, Gateway House, Standishgate, Wigan Council, WN1 1AE. You can also call 01942 828929 or email interest@wigan.gov.uk.