Council cuts could shut swimming pool that fosters Olympians

 

One of the country’s leading swimming clubs could be left
homeless after a council announced plans to close a city centre pool to save
money.

Amid mounting concerns over the Olympic sporting legacy for Britain’s next generation of athletes, Newcastle City Council said it was considering shutting the Grade Two listed City Pool by 2016.

The complex, which boasts a 25m and a 25 yard pool along with spectator gallery, is home to Newcastle Amateur Swimming Club which has produced three Olympians in recent years including double Commonwealth gold medal winner Chris Cook who swam at Athens and Beijing as well as Samantha Foggo and Susan Rolph.

Two of the club’s newer members, Georgia Darwent, 14 and Tom Howley, 16, have just been called up to the national squad and are hopeful of competing in Rio in 2016.

Swimming was one of the few areas in which Team GB failed to meet expectations in London. The sport now faces an almost certain cut to its funding from UK Sport.

Meanwhile, as highlighted by The Independent, campaign groups across the country are battling to save local pools and local authorities faced with making millions of pounds in cuts consider further closures.

Recent figures have shown that than 200,000 11-year-olds move to secondary school every year unable to reach the Government's target of being able to swim 25 metres. Nearly four out of ten of those unable to swim have never had a lesson despite it forming part of the national curriculum.

Critics have doubted the Government’s commitment to the sport. One of its first acts was to scrap free swimming for children and pensioners, to save £73m from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport's budget.

Mr Cook said City Pool, which has a £3m backlog of repairs, had been a hub of sporting excellence. “In the North East we have always been able to produce Olympians and this pool closure is putting that proud tradition in huge jeopardy,” he said.

“I went from being an average swimmer there to being good enough for the Olympics. I dread to think how many tens of thousands of young people went through there and learnt to swim. Its loss would be a really terrible,” he added.

Campaigners say that within a year only one pool will be directly run by Newcastle City Council which is faced with making £90m in savings.

The rest will be handed over to private or community operators.

However, Tony McKenna, head of leisure services at the council said the city had too many pools and that swimmers could use a nearby facility at the University of Northumbria.

“We have produced a series of proposals which, if implemented, will still provide our community with access to a wide range of leisure facilities.

He said: “In the case of the City Pool, the building requires such a lot of investment that it is difficult to envisage any organisation wanting to run it as a pool, and the City Council isn’t in a position to fund the capital work needed.

“Consequently we think the only viable option is to close the pool. This isn’t something that we want to do, but we need to do it to strike a balanced budget and continue to support swimming across the city.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
football
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us