Councillor says Swaffham swimming pool proposal is unrealistic
A Swaffham councillor said he is disappointed with the Swaffham swimming pool committee after they said the pool would not be possible without the support of Breckland Council.
Councillor Ian Sherwood said the committee has yet to offer a sustainable and realistic proposal for a new pool in the town.
He added Sport England would not be able to justify large investment into a new pool which would require council tax to fund it.
This is because pools are available in nearby towns such as Lynn, Dereham and Thetford, which are less than 20 miles away.
Mr Sherwood added a regular Excel bus service transports people from Swaffham to Lynn, which makes the prospect of a new pool in the town less viable from a financial point of view.
He continued: “The majority of people would say yes to a swimming pool if we were to do a vox pop in the town. Everyone would also say yes to a new cinema for example, but the reality is there are more complications to it than that.
“The committee seem to think Breckland is a bottomless pit of funds, but the pool would have to be funded through council tax and other means.
“If you look at the facilities and population of Swaffham, is it fair to make an older person or someone not interested in a pool pay the council tax to support a small group of users?”
Mr Sherwood, who has represented Swaffham for 20 years, said he is open to a new dry facility provision or a suitable proposal for a pool by the committee.
However, he does not believe the suggestion that the pool should be built inside the EcoTech centre would be realistic due to the amount of other things the building is used for.
Mr Sherwood added:”If money was no object I would build a new swimming pool, but there are many other things residents say they would want instead.
“I cannot promise residents a pool because that would be totally dishonest to do so.”
He also suggested the proposal should not be a conflict between the committee and the council as all parties should work together to find an appropriate solution.
The pool committee had previously said Breckland Council were not listening to the will of the people after 97 per cent of people responded to their survey saying they would swim more if a new pool was available.