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Quest for public pool continues in Swaffham

An ongoing battle for a public swimming pool in Swaffham has been aided by the town council securing land for a further four years.

During a full town council meeting last week, a majority voted in favour of renewing ownership of land with the potential for future building.

The land is where the Green Britain Centre is located at Turbine Way and has been owned by the council since 2006.

It comes after a campaign group, the Swaffham Swimming Association, had made a presentation to a council committee last Monday.

Campaigners were previously not content after an application was accepted for a private pool at 23 Turbine Way in the town. They said it was not an “accessible” pool for the public.

But, the town council has now highlighted its intention to “continue to strive for a swimming pool” by maintaining ownership of the land.

All of the councillors were in favour of keeping the land except for Conservative Paul Darby.

Former mayor and Conservative councillor Colin Houghton suggested deferring the vote until the council had seen a report, but he was “not against” the idea.

The area where the Town Council have secured the land with the potential for building a public swimming pool (12718163)
The area where the Town Council have secured the land with the potential for building a public swimming pool (12718163)

Councillor Ian Pilcher, who represents Residents4Residents, said the council were voting to “keep it in Swaffham’s land bank.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pilcher said: “In pre-election manifestos from Residents4Residents, assurance was given that this prospect would be pursued as a priority.

“There was no expectation of such a quick and positive progress, so the newly-elected councillors are very pleased for the Swimming Association to have this assurance of support so soon.”

During the Open Spaces committee meeting last week, Sarah Skinner of the Swimming Association said the group had drawn up plans for an outdoor pool which would be heated all year round.

She said these plans have been acquired by the town council.

“In conclusion, I just want to let you know how close we could have been to advancing our plans and aspirations for Swaffham to have a swimming pool,” she told the committee.

“The Swaffham Swimming Pool Association was in serious talks with a private financier who was keen for us to become their charity and help significantly with building costs.

“As a result we put everything in place and were accepted with charity status.

“Having done that the only other thing the backer required was support from Breckland Council.

“I am very disappointed to report we were not given this.”

Ed Colman, who represents the town for Breckland, said he wanted to “move on” from the impasse by pursuing the district council for a letter of support for pro-pool campaigners.

He added: “There is currently no appetite for Breckland Council to deliver a pool in the town but it does not mean we want to restrict other provisions. We are not blocking anything”

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