New swim pool for Garstang?


GARSTANG could soon be getting a new swimming pool next to the town’s leisure centre.

Details of an ambitious, £2.3 million scheme to upgrade to the Windsor Road leisure centre, adding a new pool, were revealed yesterday by Wyre Council.

The idea, which is still at an early stage, would require an agreement with Lancashire County Council, which owns the current swimming pool on Oak Road.

But Wyre seems hopeful an agreement can be reached – with the county contributing to the cost of the new pool from cash they receive from selling the Oak Road site, possibly for housing.

A report to next Wednesday’s meeting of Wyre Council’s cabinet says: “Initial discussions have indicated that the county council is willing to consider the proposal and make a contribution to the cost of the scheme.”

Coun Lynne Bowen, Wyre cabinet member for sport and leisure said: “Despite reports to the contrary, none of Wyre’s leisure centres are going to close.

“We’ve said all along that this is not a cost-cutting exercise, it’s about exploring the best ways to deliver a high quality, cost efficient service that meets the needs of our communities.

“We’ve done extensive work to ensure that the proposals we put forward for the future will not only improve facilities for residents of Wyre, but will provide better value for money too.

“We recognise the need to spend in order to save in the long run. By investing now, we hope to increase participation numbers in the future, which will in turn reduce the cost of running the service or, indeed, turn it into a profitable enterprise.

“This is essential as we prepare for continuing reductions in government funding.”

Wyre’s Cabinet will discuss the proposals at a meeting on September 12, which is open to the public. If approved, they will be subject to public consultation.

If the Oak Road pool was to close the acre or so of land around it could be sold off by Lancashire County Council for a housing development – bringing in much needed cash to the county’s coffers, and, it would appear, with some of the cash going to Wyre for the new pool plan.

Sports centre users in Garstang have been campaigning for the past year or so for Garstang leisure centre to be spared the axe.

There has been uncertainty over its future for the past two years, since The Courier reported leisure chief Coun Lynne Bowen, who had been questioned by Coun Terry Lees, as saying “We are not saying we are going to close it now.”

At the same council meeting two years ago Coun David Williams asked about the future of Garstang swimming pool and was told by Coun Bowen there was no intention of closing the pool.

Exactly where any new pool might be built may depend on a land agreement between Booths and Wyre Council. The cabinet meeting will hear a report on a land swap/leaseback involving land next to the leisure centre, but the report has been branded confidential, and is likely to be considered in private by councillors.

* Comment, page six