Leader of Wiltshire Council, Jane Scott, has reassured the people of Westbury that the town’s swimming pool looks set to remain open.
Cllr Scott visited the meeting of Westbury Area Board on Thursday 17th June to receive the petition to save the pool. She also met with members of the ‘Save Westbury Pool’ committee, who are now declaring victory.
Bob Lee, chair of the Save Westbury Pool committee said, “I’m convinced that they do not want to see the pool closed, and in that respect we’ve had success. There’s a lot of money short in Wiltshire, as everywhere else, but we’ve made our case. We’re very pleased.”
Mike Cuthbert-Murray, president of the Save Westbury Pool committee said, “It’s a victory; the mission we set out on has now been achieved. It’s only because we put up such a strong fight.”
Cllr Scott told the area board meeting last Thursday evening, “There’s a lot of work to do, we’ll keep in touch with the area board and the town council. I’m pretty sure – I’m absolutely sure – that Westbury pool will not close.”
On receiving the petition, cllr Scott said, “I will make sure that this is given to cabinet members and that it is written up in the papers that we look at. We realise how much Westbury loves its pool, we think it’s a great pool.” She added, “It is not in our view that we will walk away from it.
“But I’ve told you how difficult times have been going, as they are at the moment and are likely to be, so I think there is a lot of mileage in working with Westbury, working with the community about how we can sustain the pool and upgrade the pool for the future of Westbury.”
Westbury’s historic facility came under threat earlier this year after Wiltshire Council identified an “overprovision” of swimming pools in west Wiltshire. A review of leisure facilities in the county is now nearing completion and once it is completed, cabinet members will meet to consider the future of leisure facilities in Westbury and the rest of the county. The future of Westbury Swimming Pool will then be decided.
It now looks most likely that Westbury Pool will be put into community ownership, something that the committee admit they have reservations about. Bob Lee said, “We’re still not happy with the idea, but we’re beginning to think it might be the only thing that’s offered.”
On handing over the petition, Mike Cuthbert Murray, president of the Save Westbury Pool committee, praised the way the community has come together for the pool. “Our community has united together in our commitment to keep one of the few facilities we have left here in Westbury, our historic pool,” he said. “As you may know, a paper petition has been in the town and collected just under 3,000 signatures, along with over 1,500 people signing up to the facebook petition. The support for our pool is phenomenal, and shows how much the people of the town care and love it.”
The second public meeting for Westbury Pool will take place on Monday 28th June at 7.00pm.
The main focus of the meeting will be to investigate how community ownership of the pool would work.
The meeting will also update people on future plans for the pool and actions the committee intend to take.
It is now thought that a parish poll for the pool would be an unnecessary and costly exercise, however, the meeting will still allow the Save the Pool committee to update the community.