Where will our children be able to learn to swim?

March 03 2017

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a swimming pool in East Bristol say they are in limbo following the city council's 'disappointing' response to their petition.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for a swimming pool in East Bristol say they are in limbo following the city council's 'disappointing' response to their petition.

More than 700 people signed a document saying they have been promised a new pool since the closure of Speedwell pool in 2005 and now feel it is time Bristol City Council delivered.

They say the council has earmarked £4.5 million for this provision, originally planned in the grounds of Bristol Brunel Academy, but nothing has been done to move the project forward.

Lead campaigner Lisa Murfin told Fishponds Voice that the email received from Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, reproduced on this page, said very little.

"It really is a load of mush; it isn't actually a response. It's not saying 'yes' to a pool but it's not saying 'no' either. We're in limbo and we've been in limbo long enough."

Ms Murfin says the campaign for a much needed pool in the area will continue.

"We're going to carry on. I'm meeting with councillor Mhairi Threlfall to try to get a working group together to continue to look at sites. That money is there - it was ring-fenced for a replacement swimming pool and it's enough money to build a pool. We've looked at six sites including Bristol Brunel Academy and the Rose Green Centre. It doesn't have to specifically be in Speedwell. There's also a possible site on an industrial site opposite Chester Park in Fishponds. 

"All parties on the council are asking what's going on. I appreciate there's been some deep cuts but that money was always set aside for a replacement pool in East Bristol."

Lisa said many primary school in the area are finding it difficult to arrange swimming lessons as more than 80 per cent of the cost involved is in transporting pupils to and from pools outside the area.

"A local pool would cut down that cost significantly," she said.

"But even the schools that can afford to meet the Key Stage 2 criteria of providing swimming lessons can't even get the pool space because there's such a demand on time slots. The facilities in East Bristol just aren't there to meet that demand."